Ghana is to host the maiden West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Zone B Under-17 male competition, in August, after successfully staging a main male’s competition last year.
In August, the member countries who make up the Zone B, Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo and Niger, as well as an eighth team to be invited from Zone A, will converge to challenge for the slot to play in the 2019 Africa Youth Championship from where they will seek qualification for the Under-17 World Cup in that year.
The new format is part of the restructuring the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is introducing to cut down cost for Member Associations (MA) in travelling around for qualifiers, as well as provide more competitions for the various groups.
Cote d’Ivoire was initially scheduled to host the male Under-17 event, having hosted the women’s competition, but a meeting of the WAFU Zone B executive rather awarded Ghana the right to host the event.
Further explaining the essence of the competition, Mr Aka Malan, the General Secretary of WAFU Zone B, said CAF had decided that instead of the qualifying campaign, teams would now compete on a zonal basis with the champions then converging for the Youth Championship and then vie for the three slots for the Under-17 World Cup.
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He declined to indicate why the organisers decided to move the tournament from Cote d’Ivoire to Ghana.
With this new format, there will thus be zonal competitions as follows: WAFU Zones A and B, UNAF for North Africa, UNIFFAC for Central Africa, CECAFA for East Africa, COSAFA for Southern Africa and the Union on Arab Football Associations (UAFA) Arab world.