The 15th edition of the African U17 Championship got underway as Algeria, the host country, went head-to-head against the Somalia U17 national team at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers on Saturday evening. The other teams were in action on Sunday and Monday, concluding Matchday 1 of the U17 AFCON.
Highlights of U17 AFCON Matchday 1
In the first match of Group A between the host nation Algeria and Somalia, Algeria U17 defeated Somalia U17 2-0. This match took place in Algiers, at the Nelson Mandela Stadium. Algeria has not won this competition before but will be dreaming of making history and becoming the second nation to host the African U17 Championship and win it. Gambia did it in 2005.
🇩🇿⚽️ Two years later: Meslem Anatof scores the opening goal of the U17 Africa Cup of Nations
— Algeria FC 🇩🇿⚽️ (@Algeria_FC) April 29, 2023
On the hand, Somalia is appearing in this competition for the first time in its history, having defeated South Sudan to emerge champions of the TotalEnergies U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 qualifiers for the CECAFA Zone. However, the defeat to hosts Algeria leaves them in a difficult situation heading into Matchday 2.
Elsewhere, in the other Group A game played on Sunday at the Nelson Mandela Stadium, Senegal U17 ran out 1-0 winners over Congo U17. Serigne Fallou Diouf scored the game's only goal in the 77th minute.
It’s one time I can say these players are genuine U17 teenagers… pic.twitter.com/lbGH7HnfGg
— Osasu Obayiuwana (@osasuo) May 1, 2023
Nigeria U17 vs Zambia U17 locked horns together for all three points in Group B at the Hamlaoui Stadium. The West African giants took home the points courtesy of a Favour Oluwasegun Daniel goal in the 76th minute. That result puts Nigeria in second place but level on points with the group leaders, Morocco.
Morocco beat the South Africa U17 side, scoring twice in the second half to collect maximum points, leaving their opponents bottom ahead of their second game.
It was an all-Western Africa affair in Group C, even as Mali U17 clashed with Burkina Faso U17 at the Stade du 19 Mai 1956 in Annaba, where Mali won 1-0. The win was Mali’s second over Burkina Faso in their fourth clash. They've now moved top of the three-team Group C and look good to make the quarter-finals.
The last game of Group C between Cameroon and South Sudan didn't materialise as South Sudan was disqualified from the tournament.
South Sudan 🇸🇸 has been DISQUALIFIED from the AFCON U17 by CAF due to age cheating.
Five of their players failed the MRI Test used to ensure that all the players meet the age eligibility criteria.
South Sudan has the tallest group of people in the world. pic.twitter.com/KEYyQ8lTKL
— Africa View Facts (@AfricaViewFacts) April 30, 2023
Why was South Sudan disqualified?
The South Sudan U17 national team were disqualified from the ongoing 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) U17 tournament in Algeria after five players failed the MRI test conducted on the team.
The South SUDAN FA Spokesperson Albino Kuek Deng revealed the MRI test was conducted on 26th April to confirm that all players met the age eligibility criteria established by the competition’s regulations.
However, 48 hours after the test, the SSFA said they received a notification from CAF indicating that five players failed the MRI test and were deemed ineligible for participation in the competition.
This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago