How victory for the golden Satellites of 2009 led to a successful era for the Ghana National team.
October 16, 2009 remains one of the most remarkable days in Ghana football as the Black Satellites made history in becoming the first African team to win the world youth championships.
After a controversial red card to defender Daniel Addo in the 36th minute, a gallant 10-man satellites, led by captain Andre Ayew held on for the rest of the game to take the tie to a penalty shootout.
The image of Agyeman Badu running around in sheer excitement and the late Jordan Anagbla embracing coach Sellas Tetteh on the touchline will remain on the minds of many Ghanaian football fans for a very long time.
The Satellites had not only won a trophy and etched their names in Ghanaian football history but that team became a foundation for the next generation of Black Stars.
3 months after the victory in Egypt, 5 of the players that started in that final for Ghana were in the squad for Ghana’s AFCON campaign in Angola 2010.
After several injuries to certain key senior players, very little was expected of these young stars.
They however punched above their weights and made it to the final of that tournament, only to be defeated by the defending champions Egypt by a lone goal.
Ghana lost out on the trophy again, but this time, the performance of the young team and the golden satellites in particular gave hope to many Ghanaians and affirmed the notion that these guys were ready for the next level.
6 months later, Andre Ayew, Emmanuel Agyeman Badu, Jonathan Mensah, Samuel Inkoom and Dominic Adiyiah had become household names as they represented Ghana at the world cup in South Africa.
Ghana produced perhaps the best performance by an African team in the world cup when they reached the quarter final, losing out in heartbreaking fashion in one of the most painful nights in Ghanaian football history.
From 2010-2017 , Ghana reached 5 consecutive semi finals or better in the AFCON. The success of those teams was mainly down to a core of players from the golden satellites of 2009.
In 2013, Ghana won bronze at yet another U-20 world cup tournament in Turkey.
Sadly, the key measures that saw the proper progression from the satellites to the stars was missing from this group as the country missed out on yet another golden generation.
Perhaps,that might have been a contributing factor to the failure of the black Stars in the 2014 world cup.
It is no coincidence that the German side that were eventual winners of the tournament had undergone a period of 5 year progression from their u21 youth side to eventually winning the world cup.
Furthermore, the team they beat in the final, Argentina also had a generation of national team players developed from the 2005 and 2007 U20 winning sides with the two best players of the respective tournaments, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero featuring for them.
So on the international level, the evidence is there to show that successful senior national teams are almost always built on good youth teams.
After a poor showing at the AFCON in 2019,maybe it is time for Ghana to go down that road again.
As we celebrate and are filled with nostalgia at the achievement of the golden satellites, let us not forget the measures we put in place that enabled the team reach the ultimate and make history.
Let us also remember the benefits the senior national team services from it and how this group formed a core of a Black Stars team that was among the elites on the continent for a decade.