Ghana coach on U20 Afcon preparations and World Cup ambitions

The Black Satellites coach explains his decision to use a squad made up of mainly foreign-based lads

Ghana U-20 coach Jimmy Cobblah says his team is on course to pick a World Cup qualification ticket at the upcoming Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Niger.

In the final phase of preparation for the February 2-17 tournament, the Black Satellites departed Accra for Niger on Monday.

The two-time champions are set to come up against Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso in Group B. Progression to the next round guarantees qualification for the World Cup slated for Poland in May/June.

“We are ever ready for the Africa Youth Championship; this is a stage that will ensure our qualification to the World Cup, so we are not taking it for granted," Cobblah told Daily Graphic.

“We are on course because we have had enough preparation. We will surely qualify for the World Cup.

"I am very confident because every member of the team can play in more than two positions.

“So far, the team is taking shape and we believe it will be stronger with the inclusion of some foreign-based players such as goalkeeper Abdul Manaf Nurudeen, Isshaku Konda and Kudus Mohammed.

“I have always had the 2009 U-20 World Cup victory by Ghana as my [benchmark], and I hope we can emulate that feat."

Ghana will open their Afcon campaign against Burkina Faso on February 3 before taking on Senegal three days later. Cobblah's outfit will then wrap up their group series against Mali on February 9.

The Satellites have not qualified for the World Cup since a second-round finish at New Zealand 2015.