Africa’s contingent at this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina have been handed interesting groups with Nigeria pitted against Brazil and Italy while Tunisia will face England.
The biennial global youth tournament returns with scintillating matchups following a four-year absence due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament will take place between 20 May and 11 June 2023 in the home of six-time champions Argentina following the withdrawal of Indonesia’s hosting rights by FIFA.
Reigning TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations champions Senegal were drawn as the top seed in Group C alongside Asian giants Japan, the South American campaigners Colombia, and debutants Israel.
The Teranga Cubs qualified for their fourth FIFA U-20 World Cup earlier this year when they impressively won the TotalEnergies U-20 AFCON for the first time in Egypt without conceding a goal.
The West Africans have gone past the group stages in each of their three previous appearances. Senegal’s best performance came in their tournament debut in 2015 in New Zealand where they finished fourth place.
Nigeria’s Flying Eagles have been handed a tricky draw in Group D with European bigwig Italy, tournament favorites Brazil, and first-timers Dominican Republic.
The seven-time African champions twice finished second in the global youth jamboree that has produced some of the world’s best players.
Ladan Bosso and his charges will be hoping to replicate or even better the Class of 2005 who won silver in the Netherlands.
Tunisia ended their 38-year absence when they survived a marathon quarterfinal contest against Congo to book their place in the tournament.
Adel Sellimi guided the young Eagles of Carthage to their third FIFA U-20 World Cup to set up intriguing Group E matches against Uruguay, Iraq, and former winners England.
The North Africans will have to navigate their way from the group with 16 teams guaranteed a place in the knockout phase.
The Gambia’s Young Scorpions will fancy their chances in Group F following their spirited performance in Egypt.
The boys from the ‘Smiling Coast of Africa’ will be making their second appearance in the tournament. They reached the knockout stages in 2007 in Canada before bowing out to Austria.
Coach Abdoulie Bojang guided the Young Scorpions to their first-ever TotalEnergies AFCON U-20 final in March and with the likes of Adama Bojang, Salifu Colley, and Kajally Drammeh on his side he will fancy his chances.
They will play former champions France, Korea Republic, and Honduras.
Group A: Argentina, Uzbekistan, Guatemala, New Zealand
Group B: USA, Ecuador, Fiji, Slovakia
Group C: Senegal, Japan, Israel, Colombia
Group D: Italy, Brazil, Nigeria, Dominican Republic
Group E: Uruguay, Iraq, England, Tunisia
Group F: France, Korea Republic, The Gambia, Honduras