Serengeti Boys face Seychelles in Afcon test

26Jun 2016
Fred Ogot
Guardian On Sunday
Serengeti Boys face Seychelles in Afcon test

TANZANIA junior national soccer side, Serengeti Boys, open their campaign for qualification for the 2017 Under-17 AFCON finals by taking on Seychelles at National Stadium in Dar es Salaam today.

Serengeti Boys train at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam ahead of today’s game. PHOTO: Michael Matemanga

Serengeti Boys have had intensive preparations for the match, in which they stayed in camp for over two months and played several international friendlies.

The youth side played one international friendly match against Burundi’s U-17 side in Kigoma and then hosted Egypt’s U17 team at the National Stadium.

The home side toured India last month to take part in an International Youth Cup organized by All India Football Federation (AIFF).

The tournament also involved youth outfits from Malaysia, South Korea, USA and the hosts, India.

AIFF organized the tournament to prepare India’s U17 team for the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup finals, which will be hosted by the same country.

AIFF Youth Cup, which kicked off on May 12 and came to a close on May 25, was played in round robin format and ended with Serengeti Boys securing the third place.

Serengeti Boys drew 1-1 with USA in the opening match and then cruised to a 3-1 win over India in the second game. Serengeti Boys then managed draws with Malaysia and South Korea.

The team, thereafter, entered camp in Dar es Salaam on June 14 under coaches Bakari Shime and his assistant Sebastian Mkoma, as well as the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) youth technical advisor Kim Poulsen.

Ethiopian referee Belay Tadesse Asserese has been assigned for the match, assisted by his compatriots Tigle Gizaw Belachew and Kinfe Yilma Kinfe. Besta Kalombo will serve as match commissioner.

The second leg match is slated to take place in Seychelles on July 12.The Afcon finals will be hosted by Madagascar and will bring together eight teams.

Madagascar have already qualified for the championship slated to take place from April 2 to 16, on the basis of being the event’s hosts.
Teams to qualify will earn a place in the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup finals.

Should Serengeti Boys manage to knock out Seychelles, they will meet South Africa in the next stage of the qualifiers.