Hosts Gabon open U-17 Nations Cup with big defeat to Guinea

Hosts Gabon opened the Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations in Port Gentil with a big defeat to Guinea, losing their first Group A game 5-1.

Guinea completely dominated the match and went 5-0 up before Gabon hit a consolation goal in the second half.

Later on Sunday, Cameroon were scheduled to face Ghana in the other Group A match.
Group B’s opening matches take place in Libreville on Monday with Mali facing Tanzania and Angola taking on Niger.

The top four teams will qualify for the Under 17 Fifa World Cup in India in October which gives the teams an extra incentive to do well.

Before the opening game, Gabon’s head coach, Pierre Mfoumbi, had said he hoped his players could get off to a good start, in their bid to reach the World Cup for the first time.

In contrast, defending champions Mali – who start their campaign against debutants Tanzania on Monday – reached the final of the last Fifa Under 17 World Cup in Chile two years ago, only to lose to fellow Africans Nigeria in the final.

For Tanzania, qualifying for the Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations is a new chapter in the development of their country’s football.

Jamal Malinzi, president of Tanzania’s Football Federation, says although they are new to this tournament, they remain very ambitious.

“We have high expectations – very, very high expectations. We are going to start against Mali, I know it’s a formidable team,” Malinzi told BBC Sport.

“They have got two very good academies in Mali, which produced a number of their players, and some of them are playing in Europe already.

“But that won’t deter us from being determined to conquer Mali, to conquer Group B, and be in India for the World Cup finals,” Malinzi said.

Gabon replaced Madagascar as hosts for this Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations following a Caf inspection.

Source: BBC

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