The 2022/23 CAF African Schools Football Championship officially drew to a close on Saturday at a packed Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont.
Fountain Gate Secondary School of Tanzania were crowned champions of the girls’ competition, while Guinea’s CS Ben Sekou Sylla claimed first prize in the boys’ edition.
This is what the coaches had to say after the knockout stages and the finals.
Tanzania ( Fountain Gate Dodoma Secondary School) - Veronica Kiondo | First Place
“My overall assessment about my team is good. We believe that for women players to do good, we need to give them the basics at a young age. We have invested in the youngest girls and that is why we are getting what we see now. When we invest in the young ones, it’s very easy for them to adapt and grow.
“So many people now know that women’s football is growing. Things are different from the previous times when people did not believe in women’s football. There is investment in women’s football. I want to thank CAF for the efforts being made to grow women’s football here on the continent through such tournaments, which we are honored to have played in.”
Gambia (Scan Aid) - Amadou Jatta | Third Place
“Our aim was to win the first trophy, but we unfortunately could not make it. Our performance was not up to standard compared to the girls I know. Travelling for over 48 hours is not an easy thing even though it’s not an excuse for us not winning the tournament. It is definitely a learning process and we can go back to the drawing board and prepare so that we can come back stronger”.
Guinea – (C.S Ben Sekou Syll) Ally Cisse | Champions
“Our intention was to win this tournament and we did just that. This is the first school’s tournament by CAF and we are proud to have won it for our nation back home. We played against a very good team who also deserve to be champions but fortunately for us, we came out victorious. We also want to thank CAF and all the schools that participated for making this a truly remarkable and memorable tournament.”
South Africa (Clapham High School) – Simon Blangwe
“I am very proud of my boys. They did a very good job against a very physical side. We would have loved to win this tournament but unfortunately it was not meant to be. We have learnt a lot from this, and we can only build from it as we prepare for other tournaments that we are heading to. Most of the squad is quite young so we may even see them again here in this tournament next year.”
Malawi (Salima Secondary School) – Joseph Kaunda (Third Place)
“The competition has been so good. It’s a very good competition by CAF. If football is to grow in Africa, it should start from schools. Talent is here at school level. We want to thank Dr Patrice Motsepe for introducing this tournament. He has done well because this is a very good idea. Football is alive in schools and if these kids play such tournaments for the next three years, they will be representing their countries in the U17 AFCON.”