By Ben Efe
The 2013 CAF U-17 Championship will begin this afternoon with hosts Morocco taking on Gabon at the Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca, while Tunisia take on debutantes Botswana in the other group A game shortly after.
Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia have won the tournament twice each and as the youngsters who were made to under-go an MRI test yesterday take to the field, it remains to be seen if the tournament will still be dominated by West Africa.
Burkina Faso, the defending champions, did not qualify and from all reckoning Nigeria and Ghana are favourite for the title. This is not underrating the other teams in the tournament as qualification for the FIFA U-17 World Cup holding from October 17 to November 8 in the United Arab Emirate is at stake.
Since its inception in 1995, the tournament has been carving a name for itself as the breeding ground for future African stars.
The 10th edition is certainly one that can be expected to bring to the fore talents that are set to follow in the footsteps of now African superstars who first got a taste of the international platform and recognition from championships gone by. Talents such as John Obi Mikel, the Chelsea and Nigeria star, Marseille’s Andre Ayew, Anthony Yeboah, Morocco’s Yousuf Hadji, Nwankwo Kanu of Nigeria, Nee Lamptey among a long of stars all announced the richness of their talents at CAF U-17 championships.