Ex-Hearts of Oak goalkeeper, Ali Jarah, says the 1991 U-17 winning team was a group of special talents whose victory in Italy was down to great preparations.
Ali Jarah was the backup goalkeeper for Ben Owu as the team surged on to victory in the World Youth Championship hosted by Italy.
Speaking on Citi TV’s The Tracker, the former Hearts of Oak shotstopper revealed that the team led by Otto Pfister was strong in every department.
We are an all-round team and we also started the preparations two years before the tournament, so we knew ourselves very well.
Ali Jarah also highlighted that the team prepared very well prior to the tournament in Italy.
In our final qualifying game against Morocco, the game was forfeited due to the Gulf War that happened then. When we got there, we were not used to the weather as it was cold, it was only Yaw Preko, Odartey Lamptey and the guys who were already playing in Europe who were comfortable with it. So when the game was cancelled due to the war, everyone jubilated.
The group were fortunate because right after that, we went to Germany for camping. We were there for over three months. So we acclimatized, studied the weather, played a lot of games and were also high in confidence.
Odartey Lamptey, Yaw Preko all had European experiences of what the tournament felt like. The likes of Mohammed Gargo, Daniel Addo, Willie Brown and Ernest Opoku are extraordinary players. The calibre of players we had gave us so much confidence.
We knew we could win the cup when we scored the German U-17 team 6-0 in one of our trial games and so we built up game by game. So we took it a game at a time before reaching the finals against Spain.