Sierra Stars waiting time is over
This is a big weekend to make the finals for the Rwanda 2011 African U-17 Championship; great and exciting matches across Africa, the second leg matches of the final round. (Photo: Gambia holders)
Sierra Leone kids Sierra Stars failed to take full advantage of Baby Elephants from the Ivory Coast after they came from behind to hold their Sierra Leonean counterparts to a 2-2 draw in their Rwanda 2011 Africa U-17 Championship final round first leg encounter in Freetown.
Sierra Stars this weekend will have to do the magic if they are to reach Rwanda 2011, earlier this month Sierra Leone U-17 Coach, Lamin Bangura, says he still has what it takes to qualify in Abidjan for the Rwanda 2011 finals.
Lamin Bangura told journalists shortly after the match at the National Stadium that his boys should not be counted out of the race yet until after the final whistle in Abidjan.
Hosts Rwanda have qualified automatically whilst Egypt reached the final round following the withdrawal of Mauritius, and the identity of the remaining six teams will be revealed by the close of the week.
Holders Gambia leads the pack of contenders for a place at the continental cadet championship and will come up against their Tunisian counterparts who have 3-2 advantage from the first leg.
However, coach Lamin Sambou’s team has yet to drop at home and are highly tipped to halt the campaign of the North Africans.
The Baby Scorpions edged out another North African side, Morocco at the previous round, and the thirst to defend their title at the ninth edition of the biennial championship serves the motivation.
The Gambians are bent on rewriting history after failing to qualify for the 2007 edition in Togo despite emerging winners in 2005 on home soil.
Ghana’s Black Starlets face a dicey test in Dakar against Senegal in their quest to reach the final tournament after missing out on the last edition in Algeria last year.
The Ghanaians, winners in 1995 and 1999 have a two-goal advantage but face a Senegalese team, which have scored four goals in their last two goals at home.
However, Coach Frimpong Manso remains upbeat about his team’s chances against the Junior Teranga Lions.
“The result in the first leg is positive. It is enough a perfect security ahead of the second leg. After the first leg, we returned to camp and have worked on our weakness. I’m upbeat we will survive,” Manso told journalist in Accra.
His Senegalese counterpart, Cheikh Boucounta Cisse however believes his charges can overturn the 2-0 deficit to claim the ticket at the expense of their guests.
“We can also score two goals and go on to win the return encounter,” said Cisse.
Congo will be seeking to prove to all that their defeat of Nigeria at the previous was no fluke against Gabon in Brazzaville, with the visitors resting on a 2-0 win from the first leg.
In Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso will play host to Reunion Island, Cote d’Ivoire against Sierra Leone in Abidjan whilst Mali look set to complete a double over Cameroon in Bamako. The final tournament takes place from 7-22 January, 2011 in Rwanda.
Burkina Faso vs. Reunion Island (0-1)
Senegal vs. Ghana (0-2)
Gambia vs. Tunisia (2-3)
Congo vs. Gabon (0-2)
Cote d’Ivoire vs. Sierra Leone (2-2)
Mali vs. Cameroon (1-0)
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