April 29 – Cameroon defeated Guinea 5-3 on penalties to win the final of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Dar Es Salaam on Sunday. Both finalists qualify for the U-17 World Cup in Brazil alongside losing semi-finalists Nigeria and Angola.
A tense final was decided from the penalty spot after Cameroon and Guinea failed to break the deadlock in normal time. Both teams created enough to win, but didn’t convert their chances. The semi-finals had also been decided after penalty shootouts and in the tournament’s deciding shoot-out match Cameroon prevailed 5-3.
Goalkeeper Manfred Mekumba Ekoi saved Guinea substitute Mohamed Youssouf’s penalty to set up his team for the win. It was Cameroon’s second African crown at the U-17 level after winning the the tournament in 2003. “I am happy that we have achieved all our goals of qualifying for the World Cup and winning the Afcon title,” said Cameroon coach Thomas Libih.
In the group stages Cameroon had got the better of Guinea 2-0 and they were the tournament’s only unbeaten team. They defeated Angola 4-3 in the semi-final shootout, despite being a man down. Guinea will lament their defeat, but will eventually reflect on a fine run, finishing runners-up for the first time.
The two other eliminated semi-finalists Angola and Nigeria will complete Africa’s line-up at the global showpiece later this year in Brazil, but Guinea’s participation may still be in doubt after both Senegal and Nigeria both protested that Syli Cadets had fielded ineligible players.
Senegal claimed that two Guinea players forged their date of births to be eligible for the tournament. Both the implicated players featured when the Guineans beat Senegal 2-1 in a Group B match last week. The accusation was that Aboubacar Conté and Ahmed Tidiane Keïta had changed their identites between a tournament hosted by Japan in 2017 and the current competition.
CAF rejected that claim.
Age cheating has become the scourge of international tournaments hosted by CAF, which earlier this month prevented six players from competing in Tanzania after they failed MRI tests which determined their age and eligibility.
Cameroon were the most affected team with three players failing the tests, while hosts Tanzania had two and Guinea one. The tests were apparently carried out between 10-12 April.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1601514583labto1601514583ofdlr1601514583owedi1601514583sni@o1601514583fni1601514583