The Young Teranga Lions of Senegal beat their all-round neighbours Gambia 2-0 on Saturday to win their first ever U-20 Africa Cup of Nations. But in general, it is their fourth African title in 13 months having been the current winners of the Africa Cup of Nations since last year February, the African Beach Soccer champions in October last year and the CHAN champions last month.
It is a rare honour as no African country has ever won four titles at the same time. The Senegalese are still in contention for two other men’s titles -the U-17 championship in Algeria next month and the U23 Cup in Morocco in May//June.
If they achieve victories in those ones, they will sweep all the six men’s titles in Africa.
In achieving their latest title, their very first at the U20 level, they scored a whopping 14 goals and conceded none and at the same time, won all matches – a rare feat.
Goals from forward Sulaymane Faye and midfielder Mamadou Camara in the Egyptian capital of Cairo were enough to secure them a deserve victory over Gambia with which they had decades ago proposed a union that would had led to Senegambia.
The Young Teranga Lions were playing their fourth U-20 AFCON final having finished runners-up in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Malick Daf’s side have followed in the footsteps of the senior Teranga Lions, the Beach Soccer national team and the home-based national team in winning continental glory over the last year.
The Young Teranga Lions started better at the Cairo International Stadium with their direct approach causing the Young Scorpions problems at the back.
The Young Teranga Lions broke the deadlock after six minutes through Sulaymane Faye’s header from a cross down the right channel.
The Gambian defense failed to deal with Pape Diallo’s cross which allowed Faye to head into an unguarded goal.
The Young weathered the early setback to keep possession with Alieu Gibba and Mahmud Bajo
Lamine Camara fired a shot from distance which Pa Ebou Dampha parried towards the inrushing Sulaymane Faye who failed to score on 28 minutes.
Pa Ebou Dampha made himself big in front of the CF Talavera forward who couldn’t add to his tally.
The Young Scorpions came from the break seeking to get back into the match but were too strong in defense for the Young Scorpions.
Senegal doubled their lead ten minutes after the restart through RS Berkane midfielder Mamadou Camara. The towering Mamadou Camara guided home a corner to beat the helpless Pa Ebou Dampha.
The Young Teranga Lions dominated possession in the opening exchanges of the second period with Lamine Camara and Mamadou Camara pulling the strings for Malick Daf’s side.
The Gambia coach Abdoulie Bojang made a double substitution bringing in Mansour Mbye and Muhamed Sawaneh for Bailo Bah and Modou Marong.
The change added more firepower to the ineffective Young Scorpions attack. Mbye played in Kajally Drammeh on the left side of the Gambian to free Cape Town winger whose delivery into the area was cleared for a corner.
Senegal captain Samba Diallo twice came close to extending their lead against their neighbours. The Dinamo Kiev youngster saw his half volley agonizingly miss the target before blocking Alagie Saine’s clearance towards the Gambian goal.
Substitute Mouhamed Gueye hit the Young Scorpions post with a ferocious effort in stoppage time. The US Goree midfielder was played in just outside the Gambian box to strike against the woodwork.
The WAFU-A champions held on to secure their first ever U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.
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