Ghana’s Right to Dream put in one of the finest displays the Dale Farm Milk Cup has seen its 33 year history.
The boys from Accra claimed the tournament’s Junior section by hammering Southampton 7-0 at a rain soaked Ballymena Showgrounds.
RTD had already won youth tournaments in England, Holland and Sweden this year, so their Milk Cup success came as no surprise, but it made it no less sensational to witness.
It’s been a long journey for the young African players, most of whom grew up in great poverty.
British-born Academy Director Gareth Henderby explained; “Most of our players come from poor backgrounds, families are struggling day in, day out in Africa.
“We have to understand the mentality of player, where they have come from and the environment they’ve come from and the challenges they’ve had growing up
“So it does take time for them to adjust but we take them in at eight or nine year old now into the feeder schools and then the academy at 10 or 11 years old and they eventually leave at 18 so they really are with us a long time until they go into the professional game or the education pathway we have for them as well.”
It took just three minutes for Right to Dream to take the lead. Emmanul Bam burst into the box and directed a shot for the far post that was turned into the net by defender Joe Tomlinson.
Ibrahim Sadiq made no mistake in the 17th minute to make it 2-0.
It was 3-0 a minute before the break. Ernest Boahene scored a stunning 30-yard free-kick that bent into the top corner, giving young Alex Rutter no chance.
In the 10th minute of the second half Emmanuel Doku curled a stunning 18-yard effort into the top corner.
With four minutes left on the clock Isaac Atanga found himself in space on the edge of the box before placing a smart pass beyond Rutter.
The sixth goal arrived in second half stoppage time through Mohammed Diomande. It was 7-0 30 seconds later when Isaac Atanga ran through and he scored.
S’pton: Rutter, Dix, Tomlinson, Doyle, Olufunwa, Smallbone, Vokins, Willard, Ledwidge, Roric, Afalabi
Subs: Brooks, Langan, Bartlett, Norton.
Right To Dream: Sarkodie, Mensah, Kora, Baidoo, Danso, Doku, Boahene, Atanga, Bam, Bawa, Sadiq
Subs: D’souba, Boateng, Oteng. Diomande.