Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that midfielder Gershon Koffie has been called up to the Ghana U-20 national team camp in preparation for the 2011 African Youth Championship in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The 19-year-old has been named in a 26-player squad by Black Satellites head coach Orlando Wellington, with Ghana U-20′s looking to defend the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup title they won in Egypt, by qualifying for this year’s event in Colombia.
Koffie will leave Vancouver on Thursday afternoon and join his country’s U-20 squad for a training camp in Naivasha, Kenya, before heading to South Africa for the 17th Confederation of African Football (CAF) African Youth Championship. The tournament will serve as Africa’s qualifying competition for this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Having initially joined Whitecaps FC during the 2010 USSF D-2 Pro League campaign, the central midfielder has started all four of Vancouver’s four regular season games in Major League Soccer this season.
Drawn in Group B, Ghana U-20′s will play three West African rivals in the group stage of the tournament. They take on Nigeria on Monday, April 18, before meeting The Gambia on Thursday, April 21. The Black Satellites complete their Group B schedule with a match versus Cameroon on Sunday, April 24. Ghana need to finish first or second in Group B to not only qualify for the tournament semifinals on Thursday, April 28, but also secure their spot in the U-20 World Cup in Colombia. The third-place match and final of this year’s African Youth Championship is set for Sunday, May 1.
Koffie will be unavailable for Whitecaps FC’s next three matches in MLS. They include Sunday’s game away to Houston Dynamo and the home matches against Chivas USA on Saturday, April 16, and FC Dallas on Saturday, April 23.