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FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007


Thanks to their first appearance at the FIFA World Cup™ finals in 2006, Togo found itself on the world’s footballing map.

It was a remarkable achievement for the west African country and despite losing all of their matches in Germany, football in the country received an enormous boost. With star player Emmanuel Adebayor also consistently appearing and scoring for Arsenal, interest in the beautiful game in Togo has arguably never been higher.

Now there is a chance for the country to make a mark on the junior international scene. As hosts of the forthcoming CAF Africa U-17 Championship, they are in a strong position to qualify for the semi-finals and also book a place at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007.

However, Gabon, South Africa and Tunisia stand in the way of Togo making their debut at the FIFA U-17 World Cup finals. Indeed, their appearance at the FIFA World Youth Championship Chile 1987 is the only time they have qualified for one of FIFA’s youth events.

Three teams with an impressive pedigree in CAF youth events: Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria make up Group B, along with Eritrea, the Red Sea state who had to come through three tough qualifying ties to earn the right to play in this event. They defeated Libya, Egypt and Zambia to secure their first ever appearance at a continental championship.

Yet, they face a tough test against two-time winners Ghana (1995 and 1999), former champions Nigeria (2001) and Burkina Faso, twice runners-up in 1999 and 2001.
South Africa kick-off the tournament with a match against hosts Togo in a match which sees Serame Letsoaka returning as coach. Image courtesy of

All eyes on the opening game
The opening match takes place at Lome’s Kegue stadium on Saturday 10 March between the hosts and South Africa.

In the build-up to the event, Bafana Bafana have replaced coach Doctor Khumalo, a member of the 1996 CAF African Cup of Nations winning side and reinstated Serame Letsoaka in his place.

A key player for the young South Africans, Ajax Cape Town midfielder Daylon Claasen, has recently returned from trials with Anderlecht and Real Madrid. No-doubt boosted by his presence in the squad, Letsoaka insists that the ticket to Korea is of massive importance. “It doesn’t matter whether we finish first, second, third or fourth but we have to make sure we clinch our ticket to the World Cup,” he said.

Veteran administrator Godfried Ekue, who once stood for the presidency of the Confederation of African Football, is head of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for this event and is hoping that many people come out to support what promises to be a feast of youth football in Togo. “We are ready for this competition,” he smiled. “God willing, the kick off is on Saturday at 3.30pm in Lome!”


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