USA’s victory over Paraguay at the ongoing Fifa Under-17 World Cup has left Ghana coach Samuel Paa Kwasi Fabin with a lot to think about ahead of Wednesday’s round of 16 showdown with minnows Niger.
The Black Starlets, two-time champions, are overwhelming favourites against the Nigeriens who are making their first ever appearance at the Under-17 World Cup.
Ghana’s optimism is also steeped in wins over the Menas in three previous meetings this year, but Fabin is not getting carried away.
“It’s going to be tough definitely. They also have the belief. It will be a difficult match,” the 58-year-old said at the pre-match presser.
“Look at what is happening in the round of 16.
“Take for example Paraguay who won all their matches [in the group stage] but look at yesterday – [they lost 0-5 to USA, who finished third in Group A].
“You have to be prepared and play at your best.”
Ghana took on Niger in a double-header as part of preparations for the African Championship earlier this year, with Paa Kwasi Fabin’s boys running out 2-0 victors in both games.
At the final tournament in Gabon, the two sides faced off once again in the semifinals.
The meeting ended 0-0 after extra time before the Starlets emerged the luckier side in a penalty shootout (6-5).
“We know each other so well, so it's going to be a bit difficult and tricky. But we will see it through.” Fabin added.
“The expectations at home are huge. Any tournament we enter, they expect us to win. We try to do our best.”
Ghana are looking to make the last eight of the U-17 World Cup for the first time since 2007.