Ghana national under-17 football team

The 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 nine of the 17 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 Italy 1991, Japan 1993, Ecuador 1995 and Egypt 1997 to their most recent participation in South Korea 2007 where they lost in the World Cup Semi-finals 1-2 to Spain in extra time.

Ghana Under 17
Nickname(s)The Black Starlets
AssociationGhana Football Association
ConfederationCAF (Africa)
Head coach Paa Kwasi Fabin
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Ghana 1 - 1 Nigeria 
(Accra, Ghana; 10 August 1986)
Biggest win
 Ghana 7 - 0 Tunisia 
(Bamako, Mali; 20 May 1995)
Biggest defeat
 Ghana 1 - 6 Nigeria 
(Marrakech, Morocco; 14 April 2013)
FIFA U-17 World Cup
Appearances9 (first in 1989)
Best resultWinners, 1991, 1995
Africa U-17 Cup of Nations
Appearances7 (first in 1995)
Best resultWinners, 1995, 1999
Ghana national under-17 football team
Medal record
FIFA U-17 World Cup
1991 Italy Team
1995 Ecuador Team
1993 Japan Team
1997 Egypt Team
1999 New Zealand Team
Ghana national under-17 football team
Medal record
Africa U-17 Cup of Nations
1995 MaliNA
1999 GuineaNA
2005 GambiaNA
2017 GabonTeam
1997 BotswanaNA
2007 TogoNA

They have also won the Africa U-17 Cup of Nations two times in 1995 and 1999 and were Runners-up in 2005 and 2017 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-17s 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 U-17 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[1] 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.[2] Today, many Ghanaian youngsters are in G14 Club Academies in Europe.

African U-17 controversies

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.

Current squad

Head coach: Paa Kwesi Fabin

Squad announced for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup from 6 – 28 April 2017.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Club
1 1GK Ibrahim Danlad (2002-12-02) 2 December 2002 Asante Kotoko
16 1GK Kwame Aziz (2002-06-15) 15 June 2002 Mandela Soccer Academy
21 1GK Michael Acquaye (2000-08-10) 10 August 2000 WAFA

2 2DF John Otu (2000-04-12) 12 April 2000 Dreams F.C.
3 2DF Gideon Acquah (2000-05-24) 24 May 2000 Bofoakwa Tano
4 2DF Edmund Arko-Mensah (2001-09-09) 9 September 2001 Wa All Stars
5 2DF Najeeb Yakubu (2000-05-01) 1 May 2000 New Town Youth
12 2DF Abdul Razak Yusif (2001-08-09) 9 August 2001 Koforidua Youth
14 2DF Bismark Terry Owusu (2000-10-31) 31 October 2000 Mandela Soccer Academy
15 2DF Gideon Mensah (2000-10-09) 9 October 2000 Right to Dream
17 2DF Rashid Alhassan (2000-06-20) 20 June 2000 Aduana Stars

7 3MF Ibrahim Sulley (2001-07-06) 6 July 2001 New Life F.C.
8 3MF Mohammed Kudus (2000-08-02) 2 August 2000 Right to Dream
10 3MF Emmanuel Toku (2000-07-10) 10 July 2000 Cheetah F.C.
13 3MF Gabriel Leveh (2000-04-01) 1 April 2000 Tema Youth
18 3MF Mohammed Iddriss (2000-07-26) 26 July 2000 Cheetah F.C.

19 3MF Ibrahim Sadiq (2000-05-07) 7 May 2000 Right to Dream
20 3MF Isaac Gyamfi (2000-09-09) 9 September 2000 New Life F.C.
6 4FW Eric Ayiah (2000-03-06) 6 March 2000 Charity Stars
9 4FW Richard Danso (2000-09-16) 16 September 2000 WAFA
11 4FW Mohammed Aminu (2000-08-10) 10 August 2000 WAFA

Previous squad

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

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Club
1 1GK Nii Kwesi
16 1GK Lawrence Ati
20 1GK Emmanuel Anning
3 2DF Michael Kwarteng
2 2DF Dylan Foster
4 2DF William Dankyi
5 2DF Mohammed Musa
13 2DF Yakubu Mohammed
14 2DF Hamza Hamidu
19 2DF Kingsley Fobi
6 3MF Gideon Waja
7 3MF Appiah MacCarthy
8 3MF Caleb Gomina
11 3MF Paul Asare De-Vries
12 3MF Yaw Yeboah
13 3MF David Atanga
15 3MF Thomas Agyapong
17 3MF Zakaria Mumuni --
18 3MF Emmanuel Oti Essigba
9 4FW Emmanuel Boateng
10 4FW Benjamin Tetteh

Technical Team

Position Name Nationality
Head Coach Paa Kwasi Fabin  Ghanaian
Assistant Coach Opeele Boateng.  Ghanaian
Goalkeeping Coach Najau  Ghanaian
Team Doctor Dr. Andrews Ayim  Ghanaian
Physiotherapist Jonathan Quartey  Ghanaian
Welfare Officer Emmanuel N. Dasoberi  Ghanaian
Equipment Officer John Ackon  Ghanaian

Competitive Record

FIFA U-17 World Cup Record

Year Round GP W D* L GS GA GD
1985Did not participate-------
1987Did not qualify-------
1989First round302123-1
1999Third Place642*0195+14
2001Did not qualify-------
2003Did not qualify-------
2005First round3030330
2007Fourth Place7403139+4
2009Did not qualify-------
2011Did not qualify-------
2013Did not qualify-------
2015Did not qualify-------
2019Did not qualify-------
2021To be determined-------

Africa U-17 Cup of Nations Record

Year Round GP W D* L GS GA GD
1997Third Place530296+3
2001Did not qualify-------
2003Did not qualify-------
2007Third Place5302115+6
2009Did not qualify-------
2011Did not qualify-------
2013Group stage302127-5

CAF U-16 and U-17 World Cup Qualifiers record

Year Round GP W D* L GS GA GD
1985Did not participate-------
1987Second Round2020110
1989Third Round421153+2
1991Fourth Round531183+5
1993Final Round440091+8

*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

Overall U17 Record
U17 Record GP W D L GF GA GD Success
U17 World Cup Finals48301089438+5674.42%
U17 Africa Quals/ Finals583881210844+6472.41%
U17 Total10668182020282+12073.42%

FIFA U-17 World Cup Record by team

Ghana versus GP W D* L GF GA GD Succ.
 United States320141+375%
 Costa Rica211031+275%
 China PR101011050%
 Trinidad and Tobago110041+3100%

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

Africa U-17 Cup of Nations Record by team

Ghana versus GP W D* L GF GA GD Succ.
 Burkina Faso320174+375%
 Ivory Coast211020+275%

*Denotes draws including the 2017 Semi-Final match decided on penalty kicks v Niger (6-5p).

CAF U-16 and U-17 World Cup Qualifiers record by team

Ghana versus GP W D* L GF GA GD Succ.
 Ivory Coast211021+175%
 Sierra Leone210133050%

Team honours

1991, 1995
1993, 1997
1995, 1999
2005, 2017
1997, 2007


Golden Shoe

Tournament FIFA Golden Shoe Award Player
1999 Golden Shoe Award Ishmael Addo
1991 Silver Shoe Award Nii Odartey Lamptey
2007 Silver Shoe Award Ransford Osei
1997 Bronze Shoe Award Owusu Afriyie

Golden Ball

Tournament FIFA Golden Ball Winner
1991 Nii Odartey Lamptey
1993 Daniel Addo

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:

Notable coaches

FIFA Tourney Manager name
2007–2008 Sellas Tetteh
2005–2007 Sulley Mohammed[3] 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship
1991 Otto Pfister
1993 Isaac Paha
1995 Sam Arday
1997 Emmanuel Kwesi Afranie
1999 Jones Attuquayefio
2005 David Duncan
2007 Sellas Tetteh
Four Nations TournamentEmmanuel Kwesi Afranie

See also


  1. "Superb Young Players". 2001-09-01. Retrieved 2001-09-01.
  2. "Ghana: talented players as far as the eye can see". 2004-09-17. Archived from the original on 2004-10-27. Retrieved 2004-09-17.
  3. Blackstarlets Archived May 20, 2008, at the Wayback
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