Nigeria's national soccer team players celebrate with the trophy after winning their final match against Mali at the U17 World Cup in Vina del Mar city, Chile, November 8, 2015. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Nigeria will begin their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Benin and hosts of Zone B section of the qualifying series, Niger.

Tanzania will host the tournament next year which will produce four African representatives at the 2019 U-17 World Cup in Peru.

The U-17 Africa Cup of Nations zonal qualifiers will kick off from the 9th of September to the 18th 2018 in Niamey, the capital of Niger Republic.

The CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations will hold from the 12th to the 26th of May, 2019. Mali are the defending champions of the tournament.

According to the information provided by the Confederation of African Football on its verified twitter handle and website Thursday, the qualifiers for the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations will for the first time be played on a regional basis to determine the seven teams to join host Tanzania for next year’s final tournament according to a media statement from CAF.

“The new format approved by the CAF Executive Committee is expected to increase participation at the level of teams in the qualifiers, enhanced exposure and competitiveness by getting all involved,” CAF General Secretary Amr Fahmy revealed in the statement on CAF on Thursday.

“The response has been great. A total of 49 Member Associations, have confirmed their participation, which is a record compared to the previous years. We will get to see teams that never participated and rarely made an impact at the youth level,”  Fahmy further stated.

“The U-17 is the nursery of our competitions and every eligible player must be given the opportunity to participate.  We have been preparing for the past months in the areas of logistics, organisation and infrastructure, and I can confidently say, we are ready for the kick off.”

Each of the six zonal unions (CECAFA, COSAFA, UNAF, UNIFFAC, WAFU A, WAFU B) will organise their regional qualifiers featuring teams from the zone and Nigeria is drawn in WAFU B alongside Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana,Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin and hosts, Niger.

The qualifiers will take off from Mauritius (COSAFA from 19 to 29 July 2018), through Equatorial Guinea (UNIFFAC from 3rd to 12th August 2018), Tanzania (CECAFA 11th to 26th August 2018), Tunisia (UNAF 20th to 28th August 2018), Senegal (WAFU A 2nd to 15th September 2018) before terminating in Niger (WAFU B  9th to 18th September 2018).

The winner of each zonal competition qualifies for the final tournament, with the exception of the zone of the previous winner, entitled to two slots. Since Mali won the title in 2017, WAFU A will qualify two teams.

Meanwhile, all players selected for the tournament are expected to undergo mandatory Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to determine their eligibility to participate.



Host Country: Mauritius

Participating teams (12): Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique,Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Date: 19 to 29 July 2018


Host Country: Equatorial Guinea

Participating teams (8): Cameroon, Central Africa, Congo, Guinea Equatorial, Gabon, RD Congo, Sao Tome, and Chad.

Date: 3 to 12 August 2018


Host country: Tanzania

Participating teams (10): Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Ethiopia,South Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti

Date: 11 to 26 August 2018.


Host Country: Tunisia

Participating teams (4): Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya

Date: 20 to 28 August 2018


Host country: Niger

Participating teams (7): Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Benin

Date: 2 to 15 September 2018


Host country – Senegal

Participating teams: (8) Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania,

Senegal and Sierra Leone.

Date: 9 to 18 September 2018

By Izuchukwu Okosi

Sources: CAF, Complete Sports