As Napoli close in on their first Italian Serie A title in over 30 years, Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen’s selfless team-work and impressive goal-scoring skills have been attracting worldwide attention.
Osimhen first showcased his abilities at the 2015 CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations, where he scored three goals and won the tournament’s Golden Boot.
However, he is not the only former participant of the tournament making waves in world football.
From Patson Daka to Omar Colley, many players have used the tournament as a launching pad to success.
At the 2015 CAF U-17 AFCON in Niger, Osimhen’s star began to rise as he scored three goals in the group stages, including a goal in Nigeria’s opening game against hosts Niger and a brace in their final group game against Zambia.
His final goal earned him global recognition and the tournament’s Golden Boot. Osimhen used this platform to build his reputation and career, and his achievements with Napoli and the Nigerian national team are testament to his talent.
Gambia’s Omar Colley, who won the U-17 Cup of Nations in 2009, was one of the key players in his team’s run to the quarter-finals of the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon.
Colley, an accomplished defender who plays for Turkish club Besiktas, featured in all of Gambia’s games at the tournament. His success at the 2009 U-17 AFCON, where Gambia conceded just one goal in the entire tournament, was a proving ground for his career.
Patson Daka, the Zambian international and current Leicester City player, was a star in the making at the 2015 tournament in Niger.
Though he may have been in the shadows at the time, his ability to read the game, draw in defenders, and finish with the calmness of a centre forward was evident.
As his career moved on to Austria and then the Premier League, Daka’s qualities as a player have only grown.
Martin Hongla, the Cameroonian international, may have been eliminated early on in the 2015 tournament, but he showed glimpses of his potential.
Hongla’s desire and ambition to achieve bigger things in his career are now on full display.
Other notable alumni of the tournament include Kelechi Iheanacho, Burkina Faso’s Bertrand Traore, Mali’s Mohammed Camara, and many others.
The CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations has played a significant role in shaping the careers of many players and has proven to be a launching pad for players who have gone on to achieve great success on the global stage.
Players like Osimhen, Colley, Daka, and Hongla have used the platform provided by the tournament to showcase their talent, develop their skills, and earn recognition from clubs worldwide.
As we look forward to the start of the next edition of the tournament in Algeria on Friday, we can expect to see more young players using this opportunity to launch their careers and make their mark on the beautiful game.
For the class of 2023, there is plenty of motivation to draw on the achievements of these players and carve their own pathway forward by making their mark on the world of football.