By Beng Emmanuel
• The finalists of the last UNIFFAC Zonal qualifiers Cameroon and Congo will represent the Central African zone at the 2021 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations in Morocco next month.
Defending Under-17 African Nations Cup champions Cameroon and Congo will represent the Central African Football Federations’ Union (UNIFFAC) at next month’s Under-17 African Cup Nations in Morocco, the Confederation of African Football CAF has confirmed.
Cameroon who clinched their second continental crown at the youth tournament in 2019l will be hoping to defend their title under new head coach Anicet Mbarga Foe, while Congo will be making their third appearance after 2011 and 2013.
The decision is influenced by the absence of a host country for the qualifiers as well as the coronavirus pandemic among other factors, according to a communiqué signed February 18, by CAF’s interim Secretary General Abdelmounaime Bah.
Other factors include; lack of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine in some countries of the Central zone and limited time to pick a host for the qualifiers, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Consequently, CAF decided that the two finalists of the previous Zonal tournament, Cameroon and Congo should represent the UNIFFAC Zone for the Under-17 AFCON in Morocco, in a letter to UNIFFAC members.
The biennial continental youth football tournament organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for players aged 17 and below will be the first edition in Africa to feature the expanded twelve (12) teams instead of eight in previous editions.
The top four teams of the tournament would have proceeded to represent CAF at the 2021 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru. But, FIFA canceled the tournament last December because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ten (10) teams from the North, West African Central East and South zones had already booked their place for the tournament with the only two representatives from the Central zone absent until now.
The Under-17 African Cup Nations will run from March 13 to 31, 2021 in Morocco.