Ghana outplayed a hapless Niger 2-0 to move to the U-17 World Cup quarterfinals and their coach Samuel Fabin said the successful penalty conversion in injury time of the first half boosted their confidence while going into the second half.
“The penalty came at a crucial time and it was timely, boost for our confidence for the second half. We created so many chances; erratic shooting and indecision robbed us off so many goals.
“But in the tournaments of this nature, goals, so many goals does not really matter, but the good thing is that we are creating them and we are scoring one or two and that’s ok for us,” he told reporters at the post match media briefing.
Ghana will now face Mali in the quarterfinals to be played in Guwahati on October 21.
“When Africans play each other, we know each other so well and therefore it’s very difficult. Even though we could have so many goals, it would have been difficult, till the penalty came in. So it will be a cagy encounter and we are prepared for it,” said Fabin.
He also said that team was working on its conversion rate.
“Definitely (conversion rate not being good) is a concern and we are working on it, it’s a work in progress. When it is a U-17 team, you know that they will make such mistakes,” he said.
Saying that the support of fans helped them, the coach said their aim is to lift the trophy.
“We are here, every team which has qualified has that mentality to win the trophy. So we are also thinking alike. Definitely when you come to play a match of this nature, you look at the fans and when you see your countrymen there, it gives you confidence to (perform),” he added.
Meanwhile, Niger coach Ismaila Tiemoko admitted that his side made defensive errors which cost them the goals.
“We made defensive errors, which cost us the goals. When we have a match with equal footing, we cannot say that one person (the goal-keeper) made the difference. It was the two defensive errors which we made, that cost us the goals. The goalkeeper Khaled Lawali did his job like the others,” he said.
The coach refused to buy the argument that his boys played defensively throughout the game.
The coach added that his side has gained enough experience by playing in the U-17 World Cup.
“We are satisfied (for our qualification in the round of 16), but we anyways have gained a lot of experience (in the tournament). For us it is a historic qualification, we went through the first round to reach the round of 16. And already we are ranked 15, of the 24 teams that are playing in the World Cup.”