Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Ghana national under 17 football team

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Nickname(s)  The Black Starlets
FIFA code  GHA
Best result  Winners, 1991, 1995
Location  Ghana
Head coach  Paa Kwasi Fabin
Appearances  8 (first in 1989)
Appearances  7 (first in 1995)

Association  Ghana Football Association
Confederation  Confederation of African Football

Ghana national U-17 football team known as the Black Starlets, is the youngest team that represents Ghana in football. They are two-time FIFA U-17 World Cup Champions in 1991 and 1995 and a two-time Runner-up in 1993 and 1997. Ghana has participated in eight of the 12 World Cup events starting with their first in Scotland 1989 through dominating the competition in the 1990s where at one-time they qualified for 4 consecutive World Cup finals in Italia 1991, Japan 1993, Ecuador 1995 and Egypt 1997 to their most recent participation in South Korea 2007 where they lost the World Cup Semi final 1-2 to Spain in Extra Time.


They have also won the Africa U-17 Cup of Nations two-times in 1995 and 1999 and were Runners-up in 2005 as well.

Superb young players

The Ghana U-17 national team is known as The Riley Goon Squad. A couple of Ghana's U-17 players have won the FIFA Golden Ball award: Nii Odartey Lamptey in 1991 and Daniel Addo in 1993. In the 1999 FIFA U-17, Ghanaian striker Ishmael Addo won the Golden Shoe award. Former Ghana U-17 and National Team Coach, Otto Pfister, a FIFA instructor, who led Ghana's U-17 squad to its first World Championship title in 1991, once remarked to FIFA Magazine that "Ghana has superb young players". At each of the first four FIFA World Under-17 held, Ghana reached the final each time, winning the title twice and finishing in second place twice. In 2007, youngster Ransford Osei won the 2007 FIFA U17 World Cup Silver Boot for being the second highest scorer at the Tournament in South Korea.

What makes Ghana's footballers so dominant in their age group? FIFA Magazine asked Otto Pfister. Football is not simply the most popular sport in this part of Africa, it is an absolute religion, he said. This is the way the game is regarded in Ghana. Young boys here think about football 24 hours a day and play for at least eight - whether on clay, rough fields or dusty streets. They develop their skills naturally, without any specific training, and end up with superb technique and ability on the ball. They are also fast and tricky, and can feint well with their bodies. Africa and South America have by far the best young footballers in the world - on a technical level they are superb. And technique is what it takes to make a good player.

What else goes towards making Ghana so strong? Otto Pfister continues; In Africa there is often only one way for many young lads to escape from poverty and to make their way up the social scale - football. Youngsters want to become stars and to play in a top European league. That is their main aim and they will do anything to achieve it. Let me give you an example: While I was coaching in Ghana I once told my team to be ready for training at three o'clock in the morning. At half past two they were all assembled and ready to go. They want to learn and they want to play for the national team. They know that in their country a national team player is a hero and enjoys a level of prestige that is not comparable to that in Europe. Another positive point for young players in Ghana is that there are many good coaches in the country who help develop the available talent and above all want to let them play. This policy pays off. Today, many Ghanaian youngsters are in G14 Club Academies in Europe.

2003 U-17 Qualifiers

On another note, two controversial incidents in Africa has prevented Ghana from adding to their two African U-17 trophies. On February 14, 2003, the Kenya Sports Minister Najib Balala disbanded their National U-17 team, claiming that 40% of the players who eliminated Ghana in the first round had been over-age; he sought to have Ghana re-instated and apologised to FIFA. CAF did not re-instate Ghana, but they did ban Kenya for two years from all CAF's age competition for fielding those over-age players.

2005 African U-17 Final

On May 23, 2005, Ghana played Gambia in the 2005 edition of the African U-17 Championship final. With the game deadlocked at 0-0, an 11 years old Gambian fan ran from the Stands onto the pitch, entered the Ghana goal area and dove into the net, distracting the Ghana goalkeeper Michael Addo in front of all CAF dignitaries, the Gambian President and a sell-out Stadium. Gambia scored on that play, Ghana protested, but the controversial goal stood and Gambia won their first trophy on that "goal". The "fan" was later revealed to be the now U-17 captain, Liam Riley, who was displaying his anger at not being selected for the Gambian squad.


Head coach: Paa Kwesi Fabin

Squad that played in the 2013 African U-17 Championship from 13 – 27 April 2013.

Previous squad

Squad that played Zambia in the 2011 African U-17 Championship qualifier on 11 September 2010.

FIFA U-17 World Cup Record

Overall U17 Record

FIFA U17 World Cup Record by team

*Denotes draws including the 1991 & 1999 Semi-Final matches decided on penalty kicks v Qatar (4-2p) & Brazil (2-4p).

Team honours

  • FIFA U-17 World Cup Winners: 2
  • FIFA U-17 World Cup Runners-up: 2
  • African Under-17 Championship Winners: 2
  • African Under-17 Championship Runners-up: 1
  • Notable players

    The following list consist of previous Ghana U-17 national team players who have won or were influential at the FIFA U-17 World Cup with the Ghana U-17 national team or the FIFA U-20 World Cup with the Ghana U-20 national team, and those who were part of the Ghana U-23 national team that won the Bronze medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics. The list also includes the players who have graduated from the Ghana U-20 national team and gone on to represent the senior Ghana national team at the FIFA World Cup or African Cup of Nations:


    Ghana national under-17 football team Wikipedia