Remember them? Ghana's Black Starlets class of 2013 shining

Some members of a team many considered not good enough have gone on to make a name for themselves

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play Coach Paa Kwesi Fabin was the coach of the Black Starlets during their disastrous 2013 Africa Cup campaign. He is still the coach of the team currently competing at the Africa Cup in Gabon
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Two points. Just two. Elimination. Humiliation.

In April 2013, Ghana's Black Starlets arrived at the 2013 Africa U-17 Championship in Morocco with high hopes, but they bottled it.

READ MORE: Africa U-17 Championship Ghana beat Cameroon 4-0

Two draws and a loss meant coach Paa Kwesi Fabin's boys placed third in their group, crashing out and flying back home in disgrace.

Disgrace, because the team's loss, especially, was made of stuff that made you cringe: six goals to one, and against?

Nigeria.

Nigeria of all teams. Ghana's bitterest rivals.

READ MORE: Video Watch how Ghana beat Cameroon 4-0 in CAF U-17 Championship

The team ended up being the punching bag of journalists, venomous criticisms as hooks and jabs to the confidence of the young boys. Many said it was the worst generation of Starlets that they had ever seen. The boys had soiled the reputation of a team that had ruled both the world and continent twice each in the 1990s.

Ghana squad for the 2013 Africa U-17 Championship in Morocco

Goalkeepers:

Ali Mohammed, Lawrence Ati and Emmanuel Anning

 

Defenders:

Isaac Twum, Patrick Kojo Asmah, William Dankyi, Nicholas Opoku, Yakubu Mohammed, Hamza Hamidu and Kingsley Fobih

 

Midfielders:

Gideon Waja, Appiah MacCarthy, Caleb Gomina, Paul Asare De-Vries, Yaw Yeboah, David Atanga, Thomas Agyapong, Zakaria Mumuni and Emmanuel Oti Essigba

 

Strikers:

Emmanuel Boateng and Benjamin Tetteh

 

In the wake of the team's failure, there was neither belief nor confidence in the quality and potential of the boys, who many felt were not good enough to progress through the ranks.

But how wrong they were.

READ MORE: CAF U-17 Championship Kalusha Bwalya hails 'complete' and 'fantastic' Ghana

For starters, as many as six of the player graduated into the Black Satellites (Ghana U-20) team that reached the knockout phase of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

Here is Pulse Sports' report of players from that team who have since escaped that gloom and fashioned a boom of their own.

Lawrence Ati-Zigi

 

Ati Zigi currently is currently on the books of Austrian giants Red Bull Salzburg, playing for their farm team FC Liefering. He has made 11 appearances this season.

The 20-year-old was Ghana's first choice goalie at the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand two years ago.

Kingsley Fobi

 

Fobi excelled in New Zealand as an enterprising right back and is currently playing at Spanish side Granada CF, albeit for their youth team.

He earned a move from Right to Dream Academy in Ghana to Italian side Udinese before his move to Spain.

David Atanga

 

Atanga, now 20, plays in the Austrian Bundesliga with Mattersburg, on loan from Red Bull Salzburg).

Last season, while playing on loan at FC Liefering, he managed an impressive 10 goals in 23 games from midfield in the Austrian second tier.

This season, he has scored three goals in 13 games in the Austrian top flight for Mattersburg.

Yaw Yeboah

 

Perhaps the most highly rated player of his the Starlets class of 2017, the skillful, left-footed play maker is currently attached to Manchester City, though he has been sent on loan twice in the last two seasons (Lille in France last season and FC Twente in the Netherlands this season).

READ MORE: Video Black Starlets celebrate victory over Cameroon with Shatta Wale's 'Taking Over'

He was awarded the Most Valuable Player at the 2015 Africa Youth Championship, in which Ghana's U-20 team won bronze, and went on to score twice later on in the World Cup in New Zealand.

Last year, he earned a senior national team (Black Stars) call-up, but failed to earn a cap.

This season, the 20-year-old has been a regular fixture for FC Twente, making 26 league appearances and scoring two goals.

Benjamin Tetteh

 

The lanky marksman Tetteh currently plays for FC Slovacko in the Czech top flight, on loan from Belgian side Standard Liege, whom he signed for 2015 from Ghana's Dreams FC.

In the 2015/16 season, he played 16 times for Liege and scored twice, and played only once this season before being loaned out to the Czech first league.

He was also key for the Black Satellites in New Zealand.

Emmanuel Okyere Boateng

 

Boateng was the most prolific striker of the Starlets class of 2013. Before that Africa Cup, he had made a name for himself scoring with frightening ease in the many friendly games the team played. Complementing his finishing were his impressive speed and strength.

These days, Boateng plays more as a winger, and so doesn't score as much as he used to.

He plays for Portuguese top flight side Moreirense, where he has been for the last two seasons since joining from Rio Ave.

READ MORE: Emmanuel Boateng Ghanaian striker wins Portuguese League Cup

He has scored 9 times in 31 games across all competitions this season, also winning the Portuguese League Cup.

The 20-year-old, who started out at Ghana Division Two side Charity Stars, also played an instrumental role for the Black Satellites in New Zealand, scoring a well-taken match winner in a 1-0 win against Panama, a result that helped the team top their group.

Gideon Waja

 

Waja is now one of the most highly rated players in the Ghana Premier League.

With his flair-filled play making, the midfielder has dominated games for his team, the West Africa Football Academy (WAFA) this season. He is hailed as one of the reasons why the club is currently top of the 2016/17 season after the first round.

Zakaria Mumuni

 

Mumuni is perhaps the most talented right winger playing in the Ghana Premier League today. He was an astonishing 14 years in 2013 during the Africa Cup in Morocco.

Now 18, the light skinned speedster earned a big money move to Aduana Stars ahead of the current season after impressing for WAFA last season.

And he's already making an impact in the fold of the Ogya Boys.

Paul Asare de Vries

 

Striker Paul Asare (far left) went on to play a key role for Ghana's B team (local Black Stars) at the 2014 Championship of African Nations (CHAN) in South Africa.

In the 2013/14 Ghana Premier League season, he hit double figures in goals and came close to taking home the goal king award.

Now 21, he still plies his trade for Wa All Stars, whom he helped to to an unlikely league title last season.

He has been playing at the Wa-based club all his career.

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