The 2018 edition of the COSAFA U17 Championship Kicked Off on Thursday 19 July with Namibia thumping Seychelles 8-3 in their Group A clash at the Stade St Francois Xavier in Port Louis-Mauritius; the matches also acting as the qualification process of the AFCON U17 showpiece slated for Tanzania next year.
Prins Tjiueza was the star man of the show with four goals to his name with Tyrin George also grabbing a hat-trick as the 2016 champions ran riot in the second period having claimed a 4-3 halftime lead.
Thrilling First Half
In a pulsating first half, Seychelles who scored their goals through Afandi Aboudou, Jarrel Suzette and Rino Pauline, had levelled the game at 3-3 after 20 minutes but the islanders faded in the second period as Namibia continued to keep the pressure on and provided an early show of their potential in the showpiece.
Hosts Mauritius who were finalists last year were left stunned following a 1-0 loss to Botswana in the other match in Group A. The closely-fought clash looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw before Oageng Maphorisa converted from the spot for the Young Zebras with eight minutes remaining. Home defender Laurent Maison Rouge, who conceded the spot-kick, was also handed the first red card of the tournament as Mauritius finished the game with 10 men.
There was also a single fixture in Group B, where defending champions Zambia were held to a 0-0 draw by Mozambique.
Only the top team in each pool advances to the semifinals along with the best runner-up as the 12 competing sides seek to be crowned champions and in doing so win a place in next year’s African Under-17 Championships that will be held in Tanzania.
The action continues on Friday with three more matches, including a Group B opener for two-time champions South Africa against Lesotho at the Stade Anjalay in Belle Vue; this will come after the clash between Angola and Malawi.
Kenya featured in the competition in 2016 as a guest nation and came fourth.