This month saw the successful hosting of the first ever Challenge Afrique event in M’Bour, Senegal. The tournament was co-organised by Scout7 with the Diambars Academy and featured six elite level youth teams, all with ambitions of showcasing their abilities in front of scouts from several European club sides.
Challenge Afrique was made possible by Scout7’s relationships with several key stakeholders across African Football, which enabled the company to assemble a strong line-up of teams: Diambars Academy (Senegal), Dakar Sacre-Coeur (Senegal), Generation Foot (Senegal), Horoya U18 (Guinea), JMG Academy Mali and the Morocco U18 national team.
Current Guingamp midfielder Moustapha Diallo also agreed to support the event as an official tournament ambassador, after being signed himself as a result of being scouted at a tournament played in Africa in 2009.
Former PSG and Marseille striker Boubacar Sarr, pictured here with a shirt donated by Moustapha Diallo, played a key role in advising the tournament
Initially the six teams were split into two groups of three, with the winner of each group progressing the Final.
Group A proved to be a close affair, with only one goal scored in the three matches. JMG Academy Mali scored the only goal of the group in a 1-0 win over Diambars in the opening game. Two goalless draws followed, which meant that JMG Academy Mali finished group winners, with Morocco U18 finishing as group runners-up and Diambars finishing third.
|JMG Academy (Mali)||2||1||0||1||1||0||4|
|Morocco U18 National Team||2||0||2||0||0||0||2|
|Diambars Academy (Senegal)||2||0||1||1||0||1||1|
Group B was topped by Generation Foot, who secured 1-0 wins against both Dakar Sacre-Coeur and Horoya. Horoya won their other game against Dakar Sacre-Coeur, meaning that Group B finished with Horoya proceeding to the 3rd/4th playoff, leaving Dakar Sacre-Coeur in the 5th/6th playoff.
|Generation Foot (Senegal)||2||2||0||0||2||0||6|
|Horoya AC (Guinea)||2||1||0||1||1||1||3|
|Dakar Sacre-Coeur (Senegal)||2||0||0||2||0||2||0|
The 5th Place play-off proved to be a close game, played between two Senegalese teams, where hosts Diambars picked up their first goal and win of the tournament to finish 5th. The 3rd/4th place play-off saw Morocco striker Sami Benamar show off his striking talents, scoring a hat-trick which was enough to secure the victory, despite a hearted second half from Horoya with strikes from Abdoulaye Jules Keita and Mohamed Camara.
The final was an open game, with JMG Academy managing to capitalise on some poor defending and breached the Generation Foot goal twice through James Prempeh and Mohamed Koné, whose composed finish saw JMG run out deserved winners.
5th/6th Place Play-Off
|Diambars 1-0 Dakar Sacre Coeur|
|3rd/4th Place Play-Off|
|Morocco U18 National Team 3-2 Horoya AC|
|JMG Academy Mail 2-0 Generation Foot|
The goals from the final of Challenge Afrique U18
The tournament succeeded in promoting respect and sportsmanship, with Diambars and Aziz Gharib of Morocco winning the collective team and the individual Fair Play awards. Diambars goalkeeper Idrissa N'Diaye made an impression with some solid performances and athletic saves, winning the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award.
The Top Goalscorer award went to Bastia and Morocco striker Sami Benamar, following his memorable hat-trick against Horoya.However it was JMG midfielder Abdou Salam Jiddou who really caught the eye, winning the Player of the Tournament award.
The individual award winners with their prizes
The Official Team of the Tournament
Challenge Afrique turned out to be a fantastic showcase of talent from Africa and highlighted players from some of the best academies and youth teams across the continent. Since the competition, one of the players who took part has been invited to Europe for a trial with a top flight club, which highlights the opportunities available to players who impress in elite, competitive youth tournaments.
Challenge Afrique is now available across all of Scout7’s technology platforms including full squad and match information, together with video from every game.