By El-Amisty Nobo| Follow Amisty on twitter @ElAmistyNobo

Some are of the view that football is a game of chance, but the game of football can be funny at times, especially in situations where the best team on a particular day may not win regardless of its champagne-looking performance.

The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup will witness a feisty all-African battle between the Black Starlets of Ghana and the Eaglets of Mali on Saturday, October 21 in Guwahati [India], a repeat of the finals of the African Youth Championship in Gabon where Mali won 1-0 over their West African counterpart through Seme Camara’s first half equalizer.

Mali is undoubtedly one of the flamboyant teams in the competition besides Brazil and Spain, but the Black Starlets cannot be underestimated in any FIFA U-17 competition judging from historical underpinnings having won the tournament on two occasions – 1991 [Italy], and 1995 [Ecuador], a feat Mali is yet to achieve.

Banterifically, the statistical breakdown of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup [India] reveals that the African champions [Mali] are a sea away from their opponent [Ghana].

For instance, Mali has created the most chances [107] in the competition so far and is the second highest scoring team [13]. Only France [15] have more goals than the Eaglets.

On the reverse angle, the Black Starlets is the eleventh most highest scoring team [7 goals] in the competition.

But it is worthy to note here however that the Eaglets [Mali] have conceded more goals [5] on the road than the Black Starlets [1]. This could mean that Ghana has a better defensive network than their West African opponent – Mali.

The Eaglets are blessed with players with immense skill such as Jiddou Salam, Djemoussa Traore, Mamadu Sameke, Seme Camara, and Hadji Drame who are capable of unlocking any defensive network regardless of its level of rigidity.

Salam [No. 10] receiving hand shake from his colleagues for his pretty-looking goal
Salam [No. 10] receiving hand shake from his colleagues for his pretty-looking goal
Another Malian player whose contribution cannot be overlooked is Fode Konate. The vicious right fullback is very dangerous anytime he is on the attack. In fact, the Eaglets have initiated lots of their attacks through his channel.

Jiddou Salam is the man with the cohesive adrenaline for Mali and his contributions in this grueling encounter will come in handy for the Eaglets especially his link up play with top scorer Lassana N’Diaye in the third half of the pitch.

Coach Samuel Paa Kwesi Fabin’s team [Black Starlets] has been quite disciplined defensively starting from goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim.

The Black Starlets are very strong on the wings where Emmanuel Toku and Sadiq Ibrahim operates from. Eric Ayiah has been criticized a couple of times, but his overall performance in the tournament has been quite enviable except that there seem to be a gap between him and the attacking midfielders.

Coach Paa Kwesi Fabin is one of the few lucky tacticians at the tournament blessed with a super sub – Richard Danso. The West African Football Academy [WAFA] attacker has scored two goals on the trot from the bench and will be a significant figure in the Ghanaian set-up going into this all-African fiesta.

Predicted line-ups:

Ghana: Danlad Ibrahim, Edmund Arko-Mensah, Najeeb Yakubu, Emmanuel Gyamfi, Eric Ayiah, Ibrahim Sulley, Emmanuel Toku, Gabriel Leveh, Bismark Owusu, Gideon Mensah, Sadiq Alhassan.

Mali: Koita, Haidara, Djemoussa, Diaby, Konate, Camara, Drame, Samake, Kane, Salam, N’Daiye.

Follow us on twitter @sports24gh| Facebook – sports24gh