As the TotalEnergies Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament approaches, an incredible underdog story is taking shape among the white sands of the Horn of Africa. The Somali U-17 team, making their debut in this prestigious championship, is up against Algeria, Senegal, and Congo in Group A. Join us as we examine closely at this David and Goliath story as the Ocean Stars prepare to face Algeria, Senegal, and Congo.
Coach Nur Mohamed Amin, a former Somali international player as well as an acclaimed coach in Ethiopia, is leading the Somali U-17 team’s quest. His relentless dedication and imaginative approach were critical in taking the Somali U-17 team to the AFCON stage.
Although they are considered underdogs, underestimating the Somali team would be a mistake. Local prodigy Abdihafid Mohamed Ali has been doing wonders on the field for Elman in the Somali Premier League, and foreign-based stars Idriss Abdiwahaab of IFK Uddevalla and Abdiaziz Abdirahman of Toronto FC have joined the side. In this strong group, these players will be crucial to Somalia’s campaign.
The formidable Algerian squad, led by Rezki Remmane, stands in their way as they look to build on their 2022 Under-17 Arab Cup title. Algeria provides a stiff challenge on home soil, with emerging players Sami Marzouk of Lille and Anatov Muslim of the Algerian Football Academy.
The Ocean Stars face yet another formidable challenge from the Senegalese juggernaut, a dominant force in African football. The Young Teranga Cubs, led by Saliou Serigne Dia, are keen to contribute to Senegal’s outstanding list of achievements. Their talent is apparent, with players like attacker Amara Diouf and defense Alpha Toure.
Finally, we have the ambitious Congo, led by Italian strategist Fabrizio Cesana, whose goals are to finish in the top four and qualify for the World Cup. Congo will be a formidable contender in Group A thanks to players like Joseph Archange Ndzoukou and Kaelas Pounga.
Somalia’s AFCON U-17 debut is nothing short of a Cinderella story for the country’s football growth. Though they face a difficult battle in Group A, their appearance demonstrates Somali football’s growth.
Algeria vs. Somalia, April 29th, Nelson Mandela Stadium
Congo vs. Somalia, May 2, Nelson Mandela Stadium
Somalia vs. Senegal, 5 May, Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium, Constantine
The Ocean Stars may be seen as the underdogs in this competition, but they will surely give their best in quest of victory. Whatever the conclusion, this momentous event begins a new era in Somali football. After all, the soul of the beautiful game is an underdog story.