Black Starlets coach Karim Zito unhappy with Africa U-17 qualification format

Head coach Black Starlets, Karim Zito, has expressed his anger at the current qualification format for the Africa U-17 championship after Ghana lost to Nigeria in the WAFU Zone B tournament.

The country’s U-17 side will be absent at the Africa U-17 championship in Tanzania next year and the FIFA U-17 world Cup subsequently after losing the WAFU Zone B tournament finals to Nigeria on Saturday.

The Black Starlets lost 3-1 on penalties to the Golden Eaglets on Saturday after the game had ended 1-1 in regulation time.

Ghana looked very keen to win the qualifying tournament in Niger when they took the lead in the 54thminute.

But Nigeria equalized within 10 minutes of Ghana taking the lead to ultimately take the game into a penalty shootout which Ghana subsequently lost.

Coach Karim Zito was incensed with the format and says something has to be done to ensure quality represents Africa and not quantity.

“This tournament has brought up a lot of talents challenging their ability and capability in the game and then trying to express themselves,” he said in the post-match interview.

“West Africa is holding Africa in terms of youth development. Now, there is no Niger, there is no Ghana, there is no Cote D’ Ivoire. Look at this,” he fumed.

“It means now Africa has opted for quantity and not quality, so they should look into this more. It is not the best because when you go to the world cup it is Africa so they should go back and look at the mode of qualification. It is not the best, that is my piece of mind,” he concluded.

Ghana were runners-up in the last edition of the Africa Juvenile Champions and finished as runners-up at the FIFA World Cup in India last year.

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