Eight Countries Qualify For 2023 U-20 Cup Of Nations
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By Our Correspondent
Eight nations have booked their tickets for the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations scheduled for Egypt between February and March next year.
The eight teams already qualified for the tournament, successfully crossed the huddles in their respective Zonal qualifiers.
Host Nation Egypt, will be in their 18th participation at the tournament, and are joined in the North Zone (UNAF), by Tunisia, who finished top of their Zonal qualifiers with five points, just a point ahead of Libya and Morocco. Tunisia won one of their three qualifying games, against Libya and recorded two draws against Morocco and Algeria, but accumulated enough points to secure their eighth appearance in the competition.
In the West Zone A, Senegal and The Gambia, sailed through to the final face of the event. The Junior Teranga Lions of Senegal emerged winners of the WAFU Zone A, following their win over 1-0 win over The Gambia at the Stade Cheikha Ould Boïdiya, Nouakchott, on September 6, 2022. 19-year-old Samba Diallo scored the lone goal of the game as Senegal emerged winners of the WAFU Zone A, but the Young Scorpions had also secured a place for the continental jamboree, as runners up in their zone.
Senegal has been runners up three times at the TotalEnergies U20 AFCON (2015, 2017 and 2019), and will be making a comeback after missing the 2021 edition. The Gambia on their part, will be in their sixth participation, with the hopes of doing better than their third place finish in 2007 and 2021.
The Flying Eagles of Nigeria and Benin, will be the flag bearers of the WAFU Zone B in Egypt come February 2023. Benin finished top of Group A in the WAFU Zone B, with Seven points from three games, while the Flying Eagles finished top of Group B with four points and only edged out Burkina Faso on goal difference.
Seven times winner of the TotalEnergies U20 AFCON Nigeria, will be making their comeback since 2019, in what will be their 18th appearance at the tournament, joined highest alongside Egypt. The Flying Eagles last won the competition in 2015.
For Benin, it will be only their third appearance, and a return since their last participation in 2013, with a third place finish in 2005, still their best ever run in the competition.
Mozambique and Zambia, from the COSAFA Zone, completes the list of the eight Nations already qualified for the football jamboree.
The the Junior Chipolopolo of Zambia edge Mozambique 1-0 in the COSAFA final on 16 October 2022 at the Somhlolo National Stadium, Lobamba. Mutandwa scored the lone goal of the game for Zambia, who had defeated Angola 3-2 on penalties, in the semi finals.
Mozambique’s 2-1 win over South Africa in the semifinals, had secured them their fourth participation in the tournament.
The Central Zone (UNIFFAC) qualifiers, will be hosted in Cameroon on yet to be announced date, while the Central-East Zone qualifiers are currently ongoing in Sudan.
UNIFFAC and the CECAFA zones will produce the other four nations to take part at the 2023 TotalEnergies U20 AFCON, in Egypt.