A Majestic Black Stars B side recorded a deserving 2-0 win over Niger to book a place in Sunday’s final for the 2017 WAFU tournament in Cape Coast on Thursday evening.
Hearts of Oak striker Kwame Kizito powered the Stars into a 33rd minute lead with a glorious header from a Winful Cobbinah corner kick before the workaholic Stephen Sarfo sealed the evening for Ghana with a brilliant finish 10 minutes from time.
Niger’s Menas physically dominated the Black Stars B but the hosts employed their awesome and flamboyant movements to nick it before a packed to capacity Cape Coast Stadium.
Ghana will face Nigeria, who beat Benin 1-0, in Sunday’s grand finale.
Ghana head coach Maxwell Konadu named a strong side as his key players recovered from various degree of injuries. Full-backs Amos Frimpong and Thomas Abbey were declared fit to play as midfielder Isaac Twum returned to join star-man Winful Cobbinah, the intelligent Gideon Waja and midfield workhorse Emmanuel Lomotey.
Niger’s Menas had two decent chances in the opening quarter with Victorien Adebayor firing twice at goal but goalkeeper Joseph Addo responded well to his ambitious efforts. The first was a ferocious drive from 25 yards out which the Aduana Stars guardian firmly collected.
Attacker Stephen Sarfo nearly scored a goal of the tournament contender when he slalomed through two defender before unleashing a powerful drive which was spilled by Doumbia Issa.
Attacker Adebayor was giving a hard time to makeshift left-back Thomas Abbey who enjoyed a lot of praise on his debut day at the role against Guinea. The US Raon-l’Étape player employed his pace and power on the flanks and caused massive problems for the Hearts of Oak captain.
Winful Cobbinah operating in deeper role in midfield tailored a cross from the right in the 17th minute for Lomotey but the Dreams FC man’s header went just wide.
The jigsaw in midfield perpetuated with Cobbinah wriggling through two defenders before firing a low drive at goal.
Ghana then took the lead through Kwame Kizito. Niger defender Koffi Dankwa bizarrely kicked the ball to corner after aggravating an injury. Midfield fan-belt Winful Cobbinah weighed in a swerving cross and Kwame Kizito outjumped everyone in the 18-box to power a header which rattled off the roof of the net.
Cobbinah brilliantly set up Sarfo after weaving his way past three players before scooping the ball for Sarfo who had strayed just offside.
Gideon Waja was hauled off in the hour mark as Wa All Stars’ Kelvin Andoh took his place to provide bit on the wings.
Ghana were not done yet as Stephen Sarfo severed the game off with an 80th minute. Captain Isaac Twum weighed in a cross and Lomotey volleyed for the Berekum Chelsea man to connect home for the sucker-punch.
And, there was time for Joseph Addo to pull off a classy save from a Hainikoye’s goal-bound effort. But before that Winful Cobbinah attempted a repeat of his majestic finish against Mali but he missed by inches.
Ghana XI vs Niger: Joseph Addo – Amos Frimpong, Thomas Abbey, Vincent Atinga, Samuel Sarfo – Emmanuel Lomotey, Isaac Twum (C), Gideon Waja (Kelvin Andoh), WINFUL COBBINAH – Stephen Sarfo (Felix Addo), Kwame Kizito (Ahmed Adams) – (Coach – Maxwell Konadu)
Niger XI vs Ghana: Lossény Issa – Moumouni, Lebne, Adamou, Moussa – Hinsa, Victorien Adebayor, Dela (C), DANKWA – Khaido, Hainikoye. – (Coach – Cheik Omar Diabate)
Goals: Kwame Kizito ’33, Stephen Sarfo ’80
MVP: Emmanuel Lomotey (Midfielder)
Attendance: 14, 065
By El Akyereko
Follow the writer on Twitter: @AkwasiAkyereko