CS Ben Sekou Sylla from Guinea and Fountain Gate School of Tanzania have been crowned champions of the boys’ and girls’ competitions respectively at the inaugural 2022/23 CAF African Schools Football Championship Continental Final played in Durban, South Africa.
CS Ben Sekou Sylla defeated home favourites Clapham High School on penalties in Saturday’s final following a thrilling 1-1 draw played in front of an enthusiastic crowd of more than 6,000 at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium.
Fountain Gate had an easier time in seeing off Moroccan side Ecole Omar IBN Khatab 3-0 to cap a wonderful tournament.
The winning teams each receive USD 300,000 after the Motsepe Foundation donated USD 10-million in the inaugural year of the Pan-African schools competition.
The finals were the culmination of an outstanding four days of football in which the future stars of the African continent were able to showcase their quality in a celebration of the Beautiful Game.
CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe, South Africa’s Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Mr Zizi Kodwa, all CAF Vice-Presidents, SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan and COSAFA President Artur de Almeida e Silva, as well as football leaders from across the African continent, were in attendance in Durban.
"We are so proud of all the young boys and girls that have competed here, you are the future,” Dr Motsepe said. “The most successful football nations in the world invest in youth.
"It is part of our commitment to develop football in every country of Africa, and the nations that are here, we are so proud of you. We know the investment we are making in schools football will result in the African game competing with the best in the world and being self-sustaining.
"The money that the schools have won will be used to build football infrastructure for boys and girls so they can develop further.
“We want to thank COSAFA for hosting us and for everyone who has made this tournament possible.”
Mr Kodwa believes the CAF African Schools Football Championship has already raised the profile of schools sport across the continent.
"It has been a great opportunity for South Africa to host this tournament, which has lifted schools sports tremendously,” he said. “We firmly believe that all schools must play sport as a key part of their curriculum.
"All the teams that participated in Durban are winners. Congratulations to them.” CS Ben Sekou Sylla won a hard-fought and physical boys’ final as they took the lead through the inspirational Amara Keita, but the South African outfit fought back and equalised via eventual Best Player award winner Kagiso Maloka.
That sent the game to penalties and it was the Guinean team who held their nerve to take the shoot-out 5-4 and lift the trophy.
“South Africa were not easy to beat,” the Guineans’ coach Aly Badara Cisse said. “They deserve to be champions just like us but I am happy that we won it. The standard of the competition was truly high and it goes to show that football is on the rise in Africa.”
They take home the first prize, while Clapham High School are rewarded with USD 200,000 for their silver medal.
Malawi’s Salima Secondary School claimed the bronze as they return home with USD 150,000 third prize. They defeated CEG Sainte Rita from Benin 3-1 in the third-place play-off and ensured two of the top three teams in the competition would be from the host zone COSAFA.
Fountain Gate School were worthy winners of the girls’ competition as they defeated Ecole Omar IBN Khatab from Morocco 3-0 in the final to become the inaugural champions and take home the USD 300,000 first prize.
Their star striker Winifrida Gerald grabbed a brace to take her tally to 11 for the tournament and earn her the Top Scorer prize in a superb individual display of composed finishing.
Irene Chitanda scored the third for the East Africans, who confirmed their status as the leading girls’ team in the competition with their incisive attacking play and star at the top of the pitch in Gerald.
Ecole Omar IBN Khatab earn a hefty consolation for their silver medal with USD 200,000 in prize-money for their school.
“I am very happy to have won this for my country,” Fountain Gate coach Veronica Kiondo said. “We did our best in our preparations and this has shown in the results. Thank you to CAF for investing in school and girls football.”
Scan Aid from The Gambia claimed third place as they edged Congolese side CSG De Mfilou 4-3 on penalties following a goalless draw in the bronze medal match.
BOYS’ COMPETITION RESULTS
CS Ben Sekou Sylla 2 (Kemoko Mara, Amara Keita) Salima Secondary School 0
Clapham High School 1 (Siyabonga Mabona) CEG Sainte Rita 0
Salima Secondary School 3 (Blessings Sakala, Ishumael Bwanali, Latumbikika Kayira) CEG Sainte Rita 1 (Adriano Ahouissanou)
CS Ben Sekou Sylla 1 (Amara Keita) Clapham High School 1 (Kagiso Maloka) - CS Ben Sekou Sylla won 5-4 on penalties
GIRLS’ COMPETITION RESULTS
Fountain Gate School 4 (Winifrida Gerald 3, Mary Siyame) CSG De Mfilou 0
Ecole Omar IBN Khatab 1 (Sara Dofry) Scan Aid 0 Third-place Play-Off
CSG De Mfilou 0 Scan Aid 0 – Scan Aid won 4-3 on penalties Final
Fountain Gate School 3 (Winifrida Gerald 2, Irene Chitanda) Ecole Omar IBN Khatab 0
TOURNAMENT STATISTICS BOYS’ COMPETITION Matches played: 13
Goals scored: 40
Biggest win: Ecole Belawech Boumerde 0 CS Ben Sekou Sylla 12 (Group A, April 7) Most goals in a game: 12 - Ecole Belawech Boumerde 0 CS Ben Sekou Sylla 12 (Group A, April 7)
Best Player: Kagiso Maloka (Clapham High School)
Best Goalkeeper: Ibrahima Camara (CS Ben Sekou Sylla)
Top Scorer: Mohamed Sacko (CS Ben Sekou Sylla) Fair Play: Ecole Belawech Boumerde (Algeria)
6 goals – Mohamed Sacko (CS Ben Sekou Sylla)
5 - Amara Keita (CS Ben Sekou Sylla)
4 - Kemoko Mara (CS Ben Sekou Sylla)
3 - Blessings Sakala (Salima Secondary)
2 - Ansoumane Camara (CS Ben Sekou Sylla), Gedeon Djossou (CEG Sainte Rita), Katleho Kutumela (Clapham High School), Kabelo Sibanda (Clapham High School)
1 - Anis Agraniou (Ecole Belawech Boumerde), Adriano Ahouissanou (CEG Sainte Rita), Nazirou Arouna (CEG Sainte Rita), Innocent Banda (Salima Secondary), Ishumael Bwanali (Salima Secondary), Almany Kake (CS Ben Sekou Sylla), Latumbikika Kayira (Salima Secondary), Nkululeko Mabasa (Clapham High School), Siyabonga Mabona (Clapham High School), Ntokozo Madondo (Clapham High School), Mosa Maloisane (Clapham High School), Kagiso Maloka (Clapham High School), Kgaogelo Monanyane (Clapham High School), Achirafou Sabam (CEG Sainte Rita), Ibrahima Sacko (CS Ben Sekou Sylla), Sekou Sylla (CS Ben Sekou Sylla), Soumayirou Tchaouna (CEG Sainte Rita)
Matches played: 12
Goals scored: 32
Biggest win: Edendale Technical 1 Fountain Gate 7 (Group A, April 5); Ecole Omar ibn Khatab 6 Anse Boileau 0 (Group B, April 5)
Most goals in a game: 8 – Edendale Technical 1 Fountain Gate 7 (Group A, April 5)
Best Player: Wilifrida Gerald (Fountain Gate) Best Goalkeeper: Allic Neckema (Fountain Gate) Top Scorer: Wilifrida Gerald (Fountain Gate) Fair Play: Anse Boileau (Seychelles)
11 goals - Winifrida Gerald (Fountain Gate)
5 - Malak Hajjam El Idrissi (Ecole Omar ibn Khatab)
3 - Mary Siyame (Fountain Gate)
2 - Sara Dofry (Ecole Omar ibn Khatab), Dornella Nzeli (CEG de Mfilou)
1 - Aya Ayoub (Ecole Omar ibn Khatab), Kaddy Camara (Scan Aid), Irene Chitanda (Fountain Gate School), Anele Douglas (Edendale Technical), Nada El Aslani (Ecole Omar ibn Khatab), Samkelo Gwananda (Edendale Technical), Zainabu Karuka (Fountain Gate School), Bassopa Yokossi (CEG Cobly), Hiba Youssoufi (Ecole Omar ibn Khatab)