Ibrahim Tanko, the head coach of the Ghana U23 football team, has already set his sights on qualifying for next summer’s Olympic Games in Paris. The Black Meteors recently secured a place in the Africa U23 Cup of Nations, which will be held in Morocco from June 23 to July 8 this year, after beating Algeria in the final round of qualifiers.
Tanko’s team completed a 2-1 aggregate victory over Algeria, with Abdul Fatawu Issahaku scoring the winner. Tanko explained that his team had to change their approach during the game in Algeria, making two changes to their starting lineup to play a more offensive style. Despite squandering several chances, the Black Meteors managed to hold on for the win.
Tanko’s previous attempt at Olympic qualification in 2019 ended in disappointment, with his team narrowly missing out on a place at the Beijing 2020 Games after losing to South Africa in a penalty shootout. Tanko is determined to make amends this time around and secure a place in the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“We missed out the last time due to one penalty,” Tanko said. “We still have a chance to call some players. We have some 3 to 4 months to prepare. Definitely, we are adding some qualities and hope we can qualify for the Olympics.”
Tanko’s team will face stiff competition in Morocco, with eight other African teams vying for a place in the Olympics. However, Tanko is confident that his team can succeed, especially with the extra time they have to prepare.
The last time the Black Meteors qualified for the Olympics was in 2004, when they finished third in the tournament held in Athens, Greece. Since then, Ghana has failed to qualify for the Olympics in men’s football, despite being one of Africa’s most successful footballing nations.
Tanko will hope that his team can make history by securing a place in the Paris 2024 Olympics, and end Ghana’s long wait for success in men’s football at the Games.