5 May 2017

Tanzania/Gabon: 'U-17 Boys Ripe for Gabon'

Serengeti Boys coach Bakari Shime has lauded his team's performance despite losing 1-0 to Cameroon's Under-17 team in their final build up game ahead of African Youth Championship (AYC) finals opening offs in Gabon on May 14.

Shime the 'Black Wizard's side lost 1-0 to their Cameroonian counterpart in the return friendly tie held in Yaoundé on Wednesday with the hosts scoring the winner in the 75th minute to avenge for the 1-0 defeat they suffered in the first encounter.

Shime said it was Serengeti Boys' first defeat since engaging in the build up series two months ago. He added that his boys played a superb football, also displaying excellent footwork and athletism.

He said the hosts who were looking for a revenge after losing 1-0 in their previous encounter capitalised on the defensive mistake to secure the slim win after a barren first draw.

In their first game against Cameroon U-17 side, Serengeti Boys won 1-0 with the winner coming from striker Ally Ng'anzi in the 36th minute.

It was their third consecutive build-up victory. The fiercely contested match, according to Shime was also witnessed by the Cameroonian football legend, Roger Milla. With just 10 days remaining, Shime said the team will now concentrate on finalising its preparation before flying to Gabon to take on the AYC defending champions Mali on May 15 in Libreville in group B's opening match.

Serengeti Boys are in Yaounde after pitching a month training camp in Rabat, Morocco, where they had a 2-1 double win against the AYC finals host Gabon and ensured they did their confidence no harm with yet another morale-boosting win against Cameroon.

The Boys have played a total of six strengthtesting games since launching official training camp in preparation for the upcoming AYC finals. They twice beat Burundi 3-0 and 2-0 on March 30 and April 1, in matches played at the Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba.

They played out a 2-2 draw against Ghana's Black Starlets on April 3 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. Shime's youthful player are expected to play another game against Cameroon tomorrow before flying out to Gabon next Sunday, ready for their debut campaign at the continental showpiece. Serengeti Boys are slotted in Group B alongside Mali, Niger and Angola.

Mali were cleared to compete after their suspension was lifted by FIFA last Sunday. Cameroon will compete in Group A against hosts Gabon, Guinea and Ghana.

The top four teams will qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. The 2017 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations is a biennial international youth football tournament organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for players aged 17 and below.

The final was earlier scheduled to be hosted by Madagascar from April 2 to 16, however, the CAF Executive Committee decided on 12 January, this year, to withdraw the hosting rights from Madagascar following the reports of the CAF inspection teams.

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