49 DAYS TO GO
RWANDA’S Under-20 national team has been tipped to qualify for next year’s Fifa World Youth Championship if it storms the semi-finals of the 16th edition of African youth championship set for January 18-February 1 in Kigali.
Ferwafa Chief Executive Officer Jules Kalisa told Times Sport that Rwanda has higher chances of qualifying for next year’s World youth championship set to be held in Cairo, Egypt.
“Rwanda needs to win the opener against Mali and at least get a draw against Cameroon and Ghana respectively to reach the semi-finals,”
“All countries who will reach the semi-finals of the next year’s African youth championship will automatically qualify for the world cup,” Kalisa said, adding that the local football body, Ferwafa and the technical team is working around the clock to see that that team achieves its set objective.
The team coach Obradovic Tomislav and his young guns have their hands full if they are to advance in the two week long tournament.
Hosts Rwanda were handed a tough draw for next year’s African Youth Championship.
Rwanda will play Mali, Ghana and Cameroon in Group A of the tournament for under-20 sides that kicks off in January.
While U-17 World Cup winners Nigeria will face Egypt, Ivory Coast and South Africa in equally tough Group B.
Ghana goes into Group A for next year’s African Youth Championship after the draw for the tournament was made on Friday as one of the tournament’s favourites thanks to their rich history in world junior’s football.
Currently, the Black Satellites are taking part in the maiden West Africa Football Union youth tournament in Nigeria.
Head coach, Sellas Tetteh, is optimistic his side will make the grades at the tournament. Tetteh wants to use this tournament as a last dress rehearsal before next year’s Africa Youth Championship in Rwanda.
Tetteh named Norway-based striker Dominic Adiyah, in his squad as the striker seeks to justify himself in the team.
The four semi-finalists from the tournament in Rwanda will automatically qualify for the 2009 Under-20 World Cup to be played in Egypt.
If hosts Egypt reach the last four in Rwanda then the 5th place team will qualify for the Under-20 World Cup.
A confident Tomislav who has admitted no difficult in winning the African youth championship title will only be required to help Rwanda land its maiden World Cup qualification spot that is making the scoop a semi-final spot .
Rwanda face Mali in Group A opener while 2003 champions Egypt will clash with five-time winners Nigeria in the opening match of Group B of the 2009 African Youth Championship to be staged in Rwanda in January.
Nigeria dethroned the Young Pharaohs in the final of the 2005 edition in Benin to win their fifth African Youth crown.
The semi-finalists of this tournament, which will end on February 1, will qualify for the Fifa U-20 World Youth Championship to be hosted by Egypt.