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Today In Sports History: 11 years of Ghana’s memorable journey to U-20 glory


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Stephen Owura Kissi
Journalism has been my prior job during childhood. With all things been so good for me, I am able to achieve my aim and fulfill the promise I made to my family. I am now a renowned sports journalist working with Ghana News Page.

The year 2009 marked an era of hope and the bliss of having the feeling of being world champions.

The golden team of 2009 surged to victory, first, conquering Africa and later, the world, beating football giants Brazil in the final.

Andre Dede Ayew stepped out of the shadows of his legendary father, Abedi Pele, as Ghana lifted its first and only U-20 World Cup trophy in Cairo, Egypt.

The journey for the team started from the preliminary qualifiers, beating Angola and Gambia to secure a place in the 2009 Africa Youth Championship in Rwanda.

Stunning Rwanda and qualifying to the semi-finals

After drawing 1-1 with Cameroon on opening day and defeating Mali in the second game, the Black Satellites needed a win to secure top spot and progress to the next phase of the tournament.

Ransford Osei scored a superb goal against host Rwanda to book a meeting with South Africa in the last four.

At this point, Ghana’s Ransford Osei was the top scorer in the competition with three goals.

Goal frenzy vs South Africa

The attacking threat of the team was one of the notable strengths of the team scoring five goals prior to the semi-final clash.

In a goal-fest match, Ghana came out victors as the game ended 4-3 in favour of the West Africans.

Osei hit a brace, with Dominic Adiyiah and Andre Ayew contributing a goal apiece.

The Satellites endured a nervous finish to the game, with South Africa rallying their way back from 3-1 and nearly forcing extra time.

Rematch against the Young Lions

Cameroon saw off Nigeria in the other semi-finals clash with a 2-0 victory to set a rematch with Ghana, after both teams drew 1-1 in the group stages.

Striker, Ransford Osei was again the difference as Ghana lifted their third Africa Youth Championship title.

His brace ensured a 2-0 victory against the Central Africans in Kigali, which put them through to the FIFA U-20 World Cup as champions of Africa.


The World Cup, Egypt 2009

2009 U-20 FIFA World Cup was the third to be hosted on African soil, a tournament made in Africa, for the world.

The United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, Ghana, Brazil, Tahiti, and Germany participated in the competition as champions from the six confederations.

Twenty-four countries made it to Egypt to battle it out for glory and honor.

Group D and Uruguay clash

On the back of their success in Rwanda, the Black Satellites were put in Group to face the likes of Uzbekistan, who entered the championship as runners-up in the Asian U-19 Championship.

England, and then Uruguay completed the group.

Ghana kick-started the tournament with a 2-1 victory against Uzbekistan and then went ahead to demolish the Young Three Lions by 4-0 with Dominic Adiyiah stealing the show with his brace.

A draw or win against Uruguay was all Ghana needed to top the group but a defeat would have meant a tougher opponent in the round of 16.

The Black Satellites took a two-goal lead but a spirited Uruguayan side fired two goals to salvage a draw.

South Africa again and the Asia challenge

Topping Group D, Ghana were drawn against African compatriots, South Africa, a team they beat 4-3 in the African Youth Championship months earlier in Rwanda.

The West African side emerged victors yet again with Adiyiah on the mark again, netting his fourth goal of the competition in extra time after the game ended 1-1 in regular time.

Ghana the dispatched South Korea 3-2, highlighted by another brace from Adiyiah. The then Heart of Lions striker was on fire.

The Hungary clash

Ghana now had only the European side, Hungary between them and the final game.

The Black Satellites beat Hungary 3-2 with Dominic Adiyiah again hitting a brace, his third of the campaign and his eighth goal overall.

The dramatic finale vs Brazil

Thirty-seven minutes into the game, Daniel Addo was sent off to give Brazil a man advantage.

Ghana repelled the Brazilians and their sharp attack and held on to a barren game in regular time and subsequently in the extra-time.

The game was settled on penalties as Ghana triumphed against the South American giants.

Andre Ayew and Samuel Inkoom converted their spot-kicks before Jonathan Mensah and Bright Addae missed theirs.

Although Alan Kardec, Douglas Costa, and Giuliano made the most of their penalties, Daniel Adjei saved from Souza and Alex Teixeira with Maicon missing his as well.

Ghana had the advantage now after top scorer of the tournament, Dominic Adiyiah scored his penalty kick and it was down to Emmanuel Agyemang Badu to settle the match.

And he did with a calm head amidst enormous pressure from a packed to capacity crowd inside the Cairo International Stadium.

With a jog, a stutter and a clean stroke of the ball past a rooted Rafael in goal for Brazil, Agyemang Badu gave Ghana and the rest of Africa joy unlimited.

The Black Satellites were the new kings of youth football in the world and the trophy completed a unique treble that included the West African and African titles won earlier that year.

The Dominic Adiyiah World Cup

Ghanaian striker, Dominic Adiyiah had an amazing world cup scoring eight goals in the tournament.

He picked up both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball Awards, the awards given to the top scorer and best player of the competition.

The triumph ten years ago, till date, remains the only time an African team has ever won the FIFA U-20 World Cup. It’s a special achievement that Ghana, befittingly, has carved beautifully into the history books.


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