Senegal achieved another height in African football as the Young Teranga Lions have been crowned champions of 2023 U20 Africa Cup of Nations after a 2-0 defeat of Gambia in the final on Saturday.
The West Africa football giant doughtly becomes Africa best after the victory over their arch rivals Gambia. A footsteps following the senior Teranga Lions conquered for the first time the AFCON tournament hosted by Cameroon, Senegal’s Beach Soccer national team and the home based national team triumph over the last year.
In the final, the Lions were indeed hungry for victory which they fought like a wounded lion having been beaten by Nigeria’s Flying Eagles in 2015 and were unlucky in 2017 and 2019. But against the Young Scorpions of Gambia who en route to the final achieved a hundred percent record winning all their matches without conceding a goal.
The two goals from forward Sulaymane Faye and midfielder Mamadou Camara silenced their opponent supporters as they lifted the trophy.
Obviously before the goals, Senegal started in front foot at the Cairo International Stadium with their direct and aggressive approach, especially in the attack causing the Young Scorpions to fall back defending their territory.
The deadlock was broken in the six minutes with Sulaymane Faye’s header from a cross down the right channel. The Young Scorpions first goal conceded in the tournament.
While the Young Scorpions regrouped looking better but couldn’t convert their chances. The Young Teranga Lions had it right with precision football. It didn’t take long as they doubled their lead ten minutes after the restart through RS Berkane midfielder Mamadou Camara. This rattled helpless Gambia goalkeeper Pa Ebou Dampha who was flattened conceding a second goal for the first time in the tournament.
The Young Scorpions fought to close up the gap but despite their effort Senegal held on to secure their first –ever U20 Africa Cup of Nations dubbed U20 TotalEnergies AFCON.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Flying Eagles walloped Tunisia 4-0 to win the Third place play-off with goals from Ibrahim Muhammed, Ahmaed Abdullahi and a brace from Jude Sunday with the second an exquisite finish at the stoppage time. The win is Nigeria’s third time third place in the competition.
With the win Nigeria, Tunisia and Gambia will join Senegal as countries to fly Africa’s flag at the Youth World Cup in Indonesia later this year.