After winning the title in Egypt in 2009, the Black Satellites make a return to the World Youth Championships to repeat the trick but the journey to a second triumph at this level looks extremely complex this time.
The Black Satellites begin their campaign against Les Bluets of France on Friday and a good start is the least of objectives.
Ghana goes into the tournament as Africa’s second best side but that will not mask the talent that the side possesses.
Compared to the 2009 squad, the Black Satellites look better rounded because of the levels that the players compete at.
Glo Premier League sides such as Tema Youth, New Edubiase United, Liberty Professionals, and Asante Kotoko have provided good playing experience for key players which is very important for a tournament that has vastly developed over the years.
Jeremiah Akorful, Francis Narh, Ebenezer Assifuah and Michael Anaba have played huge roles for their clubs this season and this will be to Ghana’s advantage.
The foreign component of the team also seems prepared and quite appropriate for Ghana. Baba Abdul Rahman and Richmond Boakye-Yiadom were part of the Black Stars team that played against Sudan and Lesotho recently and so, they should not be fazed. In addition, they will be playing against teams of similar experience and skill levels and that should serve Ghana well.
However, all these look slightly less weightier when one recognises that Friday’s opponents are one of the best around.
France may have emerged second in the European qualifying tournament just like Ghana did but the individual talents they have may be the difference when it comes to crunch time.
They are captained by Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba whose productive displays in the Serie A have given many people the right to cast quizzical looks at Manchester United for letting him leave.
His supporting cast includes Olympique Lyonnais defender Samuel Umtiti, Arsenal target Yaya Sanogo, emerging Sevilla midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, Bastia’s Florian Thauvin who will be moving to Lille next season after scoring seven times in the just-ended season and PSG forward Jean-Christophe Bahebeck.
These players will give solidity, flair and goals to the French team and Ghana coach Sellas Tetteh needs to find solutions these challenges.
Ghana must surely outdo herself to get to the latter stages because there will be other group games against European champions Spain and the ever-improving United States.
Getting a very good result on Friday at the Ali Sami Yen Arena will not be very good.
It will be essential if the glorious scenes of Cairo in 2009 will be repeated on the 13th of July, 2013.