The soccer tournament is for players under the age of 20 and this year it is scheduled to be held in Rwanda from 18 January to 1 February 2009..The African Youth Championship is a biennial event held by CAF (Confederation of African Football) to choose 4 top teams to qualify for the FIFA World Youth Championship.
The 8 participating teams this year include Mali, Cameroon, Ghana
and Rwanda forming Group A and South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Cote
d'Ivoire forming Group B.These players were selected after the
Preliminary Round first leg matches held from 18 April to 20 April
2008, and the Second Round second legs matches from 2 May to 4 May
2008, followed by First Round first leg matches held from 27 June to 29
June 2008, First Round second leg matches held from 11 July to 13 July
2009, and the Second Round first leg matches held from 26 September to
28 September 2008 and Second Round second legs matches from 11 October
to 13 October.
The top two sides from each pool will advance
to the semifinals, which will choose these four nations to qualify for
the Under-20 FIFA World Cup, which will take place in Egypt in
September 2009. If hosts Egypt reach the top 4 teams, then the team on
5th place will qualify for the Under-20 World Cup as the Egyptians
naturally qualify to be part of the World Cup.
So far, Nigeria
is in the lead, with an aggregate store of 7 against Sudan, which has
an aggregate score of 2. Nigeria is listed as No. 1 on the Continental
Rank with 5 winnings in the African Youth Championship. Second in line
is Ghana with a continental rank of 2 in Africa National U20 soccer
teams, out of the 20 teams participating in Africa National U20
Football teams. Ghana has also won African Youth Championship 2 times
before, in 1993 and 1999. Next are Gambia, Mali and Congo, with
continental ranks of 3, 4 and 5 respectively. Egypt, Zambia and
Cameroon follow them next. Cote d'Ivoire is also a strong contender
with an aggregate score of 5 but this competition for the qualification
for the World Youth Championship will surely be a tough one.
The African Youth Championship started way back in 1979 and included
teams / players like Algeria, Guinea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Egypt, Libya,
Kenya, Morocco, Mauritius, Cameroon and Tunisia. The teams played to
qualify for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup as well. 2007 African Youth
Championship saw Congo as the final champion against Nigeria, beating
them by 1-0. This year's host (Rwanda) will have to fight like last
years host (Congo) to win the title for themselves.
than a month to go for the African Youth Championship to be help in
Rwanda, the excitement has already started building among thousands of
soccer fans in Rwanda and worldwide.