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U-17 AFCON: GTV Sports+ gears up for Quarter Finals 

U-17 AFCON: GTV Sports+ gears up for Quarter Finals 

By Akosua Adjei

With the grand finale drawing near, Ghana’s only 24-hour sports channel, GTV Sports+ readies for the all-important U17 AFCON knockout stage. 

The tournament which was initially scheduled to kick off with 12 countries, had to make do with 11 as South Sudan was disqualified due to five of their players failing the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan. The tournament which is being hosted by Algeria has seen family-filled stadiums with parents and their kids enjoying the quality of the twinkle twinkle stars of the future are displaying on the pitches. 

Whether it’s at the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine, or the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers or the 19 May 1956 Stadium in Annaba, Algerians really opened their arms wide to accept this youth championship, which also serves as a World Cup qualifier. 

After an intense round of matches in the group stage, 8 countries, including host Algeria, Morocco, Senegal, Congo, Nigeria, South Africa, Burkina Faso and Mali made it into the next round, which marked the end of the road for Zambia, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Senegal recorded a perfect score. Winning all 3 matches while keeping 3 clean sheets. 

While, winning 2 matches aided Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria and Mali to the next round. With ladyluck shining on South Africa and Congo, a win and 2 draws respectively pushed them into the knockout stage. Meanwhile, Algeria’s Moslem Anatouf, Senegal’s Amara Diouf, South Africa’s  Vicky Mkhawana, and Zambia’s Emmanuel Mwanza are all on 3 goals as the battle for top scorer rages on.

The stages at the 3 venues are set for the quarterfinals which will see perfect score Senegal contend with South Africa in the first fixture of the knockout stage at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers. Can the spirit of Madiba lead the youngsters to a win and an automatic slot in the World Cup? 

For his part, the coach of Senegal Saliou Dia believes his side has the ability to compete until the final day. According to him, “we want to continue competing and play until the last day. We will make every effort to win. Despite their age, our players are really good at dealing with the pressure. We will try to work on our concentration to ensure we give our best”. 

In other matches, Nigeria will slug it out with Burkina Faso, Morocco will take on Algeria and Mali will vie with Congo. 

As the broadcast rights holder in Ghana, GTV Sports+ will get the show on the road with a 30-minute spot on post-match analysis which will be hosted by Akosua Adjei and features Isaac Tetteh and Abigail Sena Sosu.

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