Against earlier critical views, Nigeria will not be the only team from West Africa at the 2019 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations in Tanzania, as Guinea and Senegal have also qualified for the main event.
Heated debate had been on among West African countries that the zone was being schemed outof things in order not to dominate the cadre much longer, but latest checks reveal West Africa can still get three qualifiers for the World Cup.
With four teams scheduled to represent Africa at the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup, all the West African teams going to Tanzania 2019 have to do is reach the semi-finals and they will still be on the Cadet Mundial, and continue the West Coast domination in Africa.
Nigeria will now have Senegal and their zone’s fellow-qualifiers, Guinea among the other seven countries to contend with in Tanzania, after the Francophone nation successfully hosted and won the play-offs in Dakar.
The Young Teranga Lions overcame Cape Verde in their semi-final to reach Tuesday’s final while Guinea impressed with a win over reigning African under-17 champions Mali in the last four.
Senegal won the final by beating Guinea 4-0, thanks to goals from captainMouhamadouMoustaphaDiaw, OumarDiouf and a brace from AliouBadaraBalde.
They join Nigeria who won the WAFU zone B tournament on Saturday with a win on penalties over Ghana.
Four other teams from the new zonal qualifying format join hosts Tanzania in the finals – Angola, Morocco, Uganda and Cameroon.
They enter the race viz: Tanzania (hosts), Uganda (CECAFA – East), Senegal (WAFU zone A – West) , Morocco (UNAF – North), Guinea (WAFU zone A – West), Angola (COSAFA – South), Nigeria (WAFU zone B – West), and Cameroon (UNIFFAC – Central)
All four semi-finalists from the continental finals will qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru.
Senegal’s coach MalickDaf says the players who won the tournament on home soil are not guaranteed to go to Tanzania.
“We prepared well for this tournament with the training camp in Asia and we will continue in that way. We will have a look at other players as well there are a lot of options before the AFCON,” Daf said.
On his part, Guinea’s handler, Mohamed MaleahCamara added: “The objective for this tournament has been met so now we will start preparations for Tanzania because we know what awaits us there. It will be another opportunity for us to showcase our talents.”