The 2017 Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations came to a close this evening with hosts Zambia defeating Senegal 2-0 in the final played at the National Heroes Stadium thanks to first half goals by Patson Daka and Edward Chilufya.
It was Zambia’s first continental title at youth level and their second after the Africa Cup of Nations title won by their senior team in 2012. Zambia previous best ranking in this competition was when they finished fourth in 1991, 1999 and 2001.
It was the second time Senegal had played in the final at this level, their previous appearance having come two years ago on home soil when they lost 1-0 to Nigeria. The defeat to the Zambia was the first for Francois Koto’s men since 2015.
In this evening’s intriguing encounter, it was Patson Daka who opened the scoring in the 16th minute when he reacted instinctively to tap home from point blank range after goalkeeper Lamine Sarr failed to handle Fashion Sakala’s squared pass at near post.
The second goal arrived in the 35th minute when Sarr was forced to leave his position to make a clearance at the top of the box but his intentions were thwarted when the ball deflected off an on-rushing Edward Chilufya, into an unguarded net for the hosts to take a comfortable lead at the break.
The second half started with Senegal creating good chances but their search for goals was met with man-of-the-match goalkeeper Mangani Banda keeping out all efforts that were fired at the Zambian goal.
In the third place play-off played earlier at the same venue Guinea defeated South Africa 2-1 to finish as Bronze medalists.
All four semi-finalists have automatically qualified for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup to be hosted in Korea Republic from 20 May to 11 June.
The draw for the Fifa U-20 World Cup will be conducted on Wednesday, March 15.