By Muhanguzi Tola
The Black Satellites of Ghana are the 2021 champions of the coveted U20 Africa Cup of Nations championship that was held in Mauritania from February 14 to March 16.
The team led by Captain Daniel Afriyie won their fourth- and first since 2009, AFCON title after defeating the Hippos of Uganda in a tightly contested match at the Stade Olympique de Nouakchott. A brace from the captain earned the team a 2-0 win against the Hippos. The performance earned him Man of the match award.
Vice president Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia congratulated the team through twitter, stating his pride for their performance.
“Congratulations to Black Satellites of Ghana for winning the 2021 Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament…We are proud of you,” tweeted Dr. Bawumia.
The win came as a gift for the Ghanians, who were celebrating their 64th independence day. Head coach Abdul Karim Zito had insisted on the importance of winning the trophy on the anniversary, citing this as a great motivation for the team.
“We are privileged to represent our nation here and as a way of thanking our country we have to win this trophy and present to H.E President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo,” stated the coach during the pre-match conference.
The team maneuvered through the group stage with a 4-0 win against Tanzania and a draw against Morroco before eliminating Cameroon in the quarterfinals. They then won 1-0 in a tightly contested semifinal against the Scorpions of Gambia.
The Hippos, who had had an outstanding debut at the tournament, won the Fair Play Award as striker Derrick Kakooza bagged the top scorer award with 5 goals. The striker, together with teammate Aziizi Kayondo was named in the Best XI as Head Coach Morley Byekwaso walked away with Manager of the tournament award.
The Scorpions of Gambia won the bronze medal after defeating Tunisia 4-2 in penalties following a goalless draw in the third place playoff on March 5.