Senegal in quintuple show of strength in one year.
Senegal football has done it again. Their U-17 squad (Picture) defeated Morocco yesterday at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers to win the final game of the TotalEnergies AFCON 2023 hosted by Algeria 29 April – 19 May. That victory that adds onto the achievement at the 2022 AFCON, Beach Soccer and 2022 CHAN, CAF U-20 respectively, in Cameroon, Mozambique, Algeria and Egypt in just one year is historic by IFFHS standards as it is the first time an African country is achieving that: call it a 5-star feat as they justifiably indicated on the champions podium with unclenched fists. An icing on the cake for all four semifinalists is their qualification for the October U-17 World Cup Finals.
The Teranga Cubs had taken off in brilliant colors with sensational showing in the group phase and were only threatened in the semifinal penalty shootout with Burkina Faso. In last night’s game, Morocco took the lead with a stunning header 14 minutes into play through Abdelhamid Ait Boudlal and kept the lead until a VAR confirmed penalty on 80 minutes was converted by Serigne Falou Diouf, and then a winning header by Mamadou Sawane on 83 minutes. During the trophy awards, the victors did not only take the MVP trophy of the final through Serigne Fallou Diouf but overall distinctions as well in: Golden boot(Amara Diouf), Best coach(Serigne Saliou Dia), Best goalkeeper(Serigne Diouf). Morocco took the Fair play trophy and silver medal as well. And Burkina Faso player Souleymane Alio was named MVP.
In review, the scores registered during the tournament were as follows: Group Stage: Algeria 2 0 Somalia, Senegal 1 0 Congo, Nigeria 1 0 Zambia, Morocco 2 South Africa 0, Mali 1 0 Burkina Faso, Algeria 0 3 Senegal, Congo 1 1 Somalia, Nigeria 0 1 Morocco, South Africa 3 2 Zambia, Cameroon 0 2 Mali, Somalia 0 3 Senegal, Congo 1 1 Algeria, Zambia 2 1 Morocco, South Africa 2 3 Nigeria, Burkina Faso 2 1Cameroon. ¼ Finals: Senegal 5 0 South Africa, Morocco 3 0 Algeria, Mali 3 0 Congo, Nigeria 1 2 Burkina Faso. ½ Finals Senegal 1(5) 1(4) Burkina Faso, Morocco (0)6 0(5) Mali.
3rd spot: Burkina Faso 2 1 Mali. Final:Senegal 2 1 Morocco.