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Somalia draws tough group in debut U-17 Africa Cup of Nations

Thursday February 2, 2023

Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia has been placed into a tough group in the upcoming U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria later this year following Wednesday's draw.

Somalia will play its first Africa Cup of Nations against youth football giants Senegal in Group A, along with the tournament hosts Algeria and Congo.

Somalia booked its ticket to Algiers after a thrilling upset victory over the CECAFA regional reigning champions Uganda 8-7 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the semi-final of the zonal play-offs. 

Group C, dubbed the tournament's "Group of Death" by some football analysts, includes three former U17 champions.

Two two-time champions, Cameroon and Mali, have been drawn with former winners Burkina Faso and fellow tournament debutantes South Sudan.

Two-time winners Nigeria will take Morocco, South Africa and Zambia following the draw conducted by CAF Director of Competitions Khaled Nasser and African football legends Ibrahim Bekakchi of Algeria and DR Congo's Herita Ilunga.

The tournament will take place from April 29 to May 19  in the Algerian cities of Annaba, Algiers and Constantine.

The four semi-finalists of the U17 AFCON will qualify for the World Cup to be played later in the year.

Allegations of over-age players have been a long-running concern for African football, particularly at the junior level. Host nation Cameroon was forced to dismiss more than 30 potential players for failing tests ordered by federation boss Samuel Eto'o.

Chad was kicked out of the  U17 AFCON qualifiers in mid-January after one of their players failed an MRI age test. As a result of Chad's disqualification, the Republic of the Congo was awarded the victory.

FIFA introduced MRI scans at the 2009 Under-17 World Cup, which took place in Nigeria.

The U-17 Africa Cup of Nations is a biennial tournament that has been held since 1995. In recent years, the tournament has seen an increase in competitiveness, with several countries fielding strong teams and producing talented players who go on to successful careers at the club and international levels.


Groupe A (Algier)





Groupe B (Constantine)



South Africa


Groupe C (Annaba)



Burkina Faso

South Sudan


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