FIFA U17 World Cup winner Sebastien Barnes has shared memories of how the Black Starlets conquered the world in 1991 to win Ghana’s first-ever international trophy at the youth level.
Barnes led the Black Starlets team to defeat Spain by a lone goal in the final to win that tournament in Italy.
In an interview on Happy FM’s 98.9 FM program Where Are They?, Sebastien Barnes relieved some moments from his playing career to the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Black Stars, and many others with our presenter Ohene Bampoe-Brenya.
Enjoy the interview below:
Question: On colts football?
Ans: During our time colts football was Ghana football. That was the place where all the players came from to play for the best teams in Ghana such as Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko
Question: On national team call up?
Ans: During our time there was much pride and honor in getting a national team call-up. It wasn’t about money or anything.
Question: On winning the 1991 FIFA U17 World Cup?
Ans: There were unity and togetherness in camp. Our squad wanted the world to know how good we were like the other senior players who were household names such as Mohammed Polo and Opoku Nti. What really helped us was the tour to Germany for the training tour with Otto Pfister. We were able to acclimatize to the weather. We also played a series of friendly matches in Germany which we won as well. In the final, Otto Pfister told us to go enjoy the game and win. Our team had a lot of confidence as well.
Question: On arrival after winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup?
Ans: After winning the World Cup, we were in a hurry to come home and enjoy our local foods like the banku, waakye. We had been out of the country for close to one month. When we landed at the Kotoka International Airport we were shocked at the reception we received. A lot of people were at the airport waiting for us. We had to stay in the plane for some time before the Sports Minister came to speak to us. To be honest I wasn’t expecting that kind of reception.
Question: On his career after the FIFA U17 World Cup?
Ans: I was with Accra Hearts of Oak Under 20 team when we went to the World Cup. After the tournament, I signed for Bayer Leverkusen. Life was good and football was also good. I played in Major League Soccer for a year and then later came back to play for Mainz 05 with Jurgen Klopp. I had a good career in Germany.
Question: Why he didn’t play for the Black Stars?
Ans: It was probably due to poor transition and monitoring of players. Looking at the Dede Ayew’s squad that won the FIFA World Cup in 2009 most of them were to promoted to the Black Stars. We didn’t get that during our time. I regret I didn’t get the chance to play for the Black Stars.