Ghana coach Ibrahim Tanko has praised his team’s fighting spirit in Thursday’s 2-1 triumph over Mali at the Africa U23 Cup of Nations in Egypt.
A Kwabena Owusu double in the matchday three fixture was enough to move the Black Stars second on the table and into the semi-finals.
Third on the table in Group C coming into the fixture, the Black Meteors’ qualification was greatly helped by Egypt’s 2-1 win over Cameroon in the other group game.
“Few people expected us to qualify but we kept believing,” Tanko said at the post-match press conference as reported by Cafonline.com.
“Thanks to my players who had a great character today.”
Ghana’s big win on Thursday came three days after a disappointing 3-2 loss to Egypt, having held Cameroon to a 1-1 draw in the tournament opener.
For Owusu, who was adjudged Man of the Match, it was certainly a great reprieve to get the two decisive goals following his relegation to the bench for the matchday three fixture owing to underwhelming performances in the opening two games.
“I thank our coach for giving me the chance today. We qualified and that’s what matters most,” said the Cordoba striker.
“Now we will play for one more victory to reach the Olympics.”
Ghana, who are making their debut at the U23 Afcon, will find out the identity of their semi-final opponents on Friday.
The tournament champions, runners-up and bronze-medallists will also be rewarded with tickets to represent Africa at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.