Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon and Egypt all qualified out of their group and will now contend for the African Youth Championship title.
Reigning African and World champions at this level, Ghana, were left to finish third in their group and consequently missed out on qualification thanks to a draw with Cameroon.
The Young Black Stars were very disappointing and only picked up two points from their three games.
Preko Yaw, part of the Ghanian side that won the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in 1991, said ” I strongly believe it was overconfidence. Being the World and African Champions, the boys thought they could walk away easily with 3 points in every game. They just couldn’t replicate what their predecessors did. This is a lesson for us and in future, we just have to put things in order. It will have enormous effect (on Ghanian football) because this is a generation set up to build the national team. With this, we may experience big gap from now in racing future players for the national team. However or fortunately, we still have many players from the previous junior team in the national team,”
Cameroon finished top of their group thanks to their last minute equaliser from Emmanuel Mbongo, cancelling out Kwame Chana’s first half strike.
Nigeria would have taken the group title if it wasn’t for that last minute goal. Azeez Olamilekan and Kayode Olarenwaju scored goals in their 2-0 win over Gambia.
In Group A, Mali drew with Lesotho to secure their standing at the top of the group. Drissa Ballo scored for Mali early on but Christopher Mosiuda struck the equaliser for Lesotho with just 10 minutes remaining.
South Africa’s encounter with Egypt was a winner-takes-all style match with the victor knowing they would proceed and the loser would be eliminated. A single goal seperated the teams from Mohammed Hamdy on the stroke of half-time.
You can catch match reports from the semi-finals and final right here on The Youth Radar