Ghana coach Abdul Karim Zito believes the team are still targeting to win the ongoing Africa U20 Cup of Nations tournament in Mauritania despite just narrowly squeezing into the quarter-final following a defeat to Gambia on Monday.
The Black Satellites' hopes of finishing the group stage campaign on a high ended in disappointment as they surrendered a goal lead to end up as 2-1 losers in the matchday three fixture at Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou.
The result saw Ghana finish third on the table in Group C, behind Morocco and Gambia but ahead of Tanzania. With the competition consisting of three groups of 12 total teams, two of the three best third placed sides among the three groups were guaranteed qualification tickets to the knock-out stage. Ghana ranked top on that table to secure a ticket for the next round.
"Like I said before the game, every team that plays Ghana comes into the game to fight hard for a win. We take nothing from Gambia, they came out to win the game and took advantage of their chances," Zito said after the game, as reported by Ghanafa.org.
"We didn’t get the result we wanted but qualification to the next round is key because we have another opportunity to correct our mistakes.
"We have not lost hope because finishing third does not mean we can’t achieve our ultimate targets."
Ghana opened the scoring in Monday's game through Abdul Fatawu Issahaku but Kajally Drammeh and Lamarana Jallow hit back for Gambia to turn the score around.
"It’s an honour to come up against Ghana’s coach [Zito]. This is a team that won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2009," Gambia coach Mattar M’Boge said after the game, Cafonline reports.
"My players had to give their best as there was no choice but to win this match. We had to raise our game and do the work that we did on the training ground to come up and better a huge opponent like Ghana."
Ghana are set to take on Cameroon, who won all three games in Group A to finish top of the table, in the quarter-final on Thursday.
The Black Satellites opened the tournament on a high, thrashing Tanzania 4-0 before settling for a 0-0 draw with Morocco in their second game.