- CAF Africa U-17 Cup of Nations taking place in Tanzania
- Eight teams competing for four tickets to Brazil 2019
- *Mali, winners of last two editions, failed to qualify *
This is certainly a busy period for African football. After the draw for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019, which took place in Cairo on 12 April, it is the turn of the continents’ younger stars to take centre stage. Over the next two weeks, Tanzania will host the latest edition of the CAF Africa U-17 Cup of Nations, where teams will be vying not just for continental glory, but also the region’s four berths at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019.
**FIFA.com** is on hand to preview the event and assess the main contenders to follow in Mali’s footsteps, after the back-to-back African champions and World Cup semi-finalists at India 2017 surprisingly failed to qualify for the eight-team final phase.
- Where: Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
- When: From 14 - 28 April 2019
- At stake: The four semi-finalists qualify for Brazil 2019
- Who: Eight teams in two groups of four
Group A: Tanzania, Nigeria, Angola, Uganda
Group B: Guinea, Cameroon, Morocco, Senegal
**What you need to know, what you shouldn’t miss**
Perennial favourites: Nigeria is a heavyweight on the African U-17 scene with two continental titles, two runners-up spots and two third-place finishes. At global level, their record is even more impressive, with five world titles and three runners-up spots to their name. Manu Garba’s charges will unsurprisingly start as favourites in Tanzania, especially in the absence of Ghana, Mali and Gambia, all two-time winners of this event.
*Standards to maintain:* After the success of their U-20 side in qualifying for Poland 2019 two months ago in Niger, Senegal want more of the same at U-17 level. They come into this event in fine form after impressing at a recent preparation tournament in Turkey with wins over Nigeria (2-0), Angola (4-0) Montenegro (2-0). For all that, their coach remains cautious. “Senegal can’t be favourites in this type of competition. Don’t forget that this is our first appearance at this event for eight years and only the second in our history,” insisted Malick Daf, who was nonetheless bullish about his side’s chances: “We’re going there to win and are not afraid of anyone."
Tanzania’s year? The host nation is on something of a roll at present. The senior team will go to Egypt in June for only the second Africa Cup of Nations in their history, 39 years on from their first. As for the U-17s, they will be hoping that a fervent home support can inspire them to at least progress from Group A.
*Elsewhere*: Mali’s dreams of three-in-a-row were dashed by Guinea in the previous qualifying round. Now the young *Syli* want to build on that feat by surviving an all-francophone Group B containing Senegal, Cameroon and Morocco. Meanwhile in Group A, underdogs Angola and Uganda will be dreaming of causing an upset and should be able to play without pressure.
African teams at the FIFA U-17 World Cup
Seven world titles: five for Nigeria, two for Ghana
Six times World Cup runners-up: Nigeria three times, Ghana twice and Mali once.
18 African countries have already participated in the tournament. Should they qualify this year, Angola, Uganda and Tanzania would be making their maiden appearances.
For the first time ever at a CAF tournament, female referees will officiate at a men’s event.