Algiers, Algeria – (African Boulevard News) – Congo’s Under-17 national team may have exited the TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament after failing to progress past the group stage, but their head coach, Fabrizio Cesana, says he is pleased with the lessons and achievements picked up by his team.
Speaking after the 1-0 defeat to Algeria in their final group match, Cesana applauded his young charges for giving their all and putting in a commendable performance. Though Congo was out of the running for a place in the quarter-finals, they held their own against a strong Algerian side and were unlucky not to come away with a point after a late penalty miss.
“We are disappointed to be going home, but we are proud of what we have achieved here,” said Cesana. “We played some good football, created several chances, and overall gave a good account of ourselves.”
Congo lost all three of their group matches, conceding three goals and scoring just one, but Cesana pointed to the invaluable experience his players garnered from the tournament. For most of the squad, this was their first time playing international football and competing at a continental level.
“This tournament was a learning experience for us, and we have taken a lot away from it,” said Cesana. “We have learned what it takes to compete at this level, the challenges that come with it, and what we need to improve on to become better players.”
Cesana’s comments were echoed by many of his players, who spoke of the privilege of representing their country and the importance of learning and growing from each match.
The TotalEnergies U17 AFCON tournament has been a showcase of African footballing talent, with young players from across the continent competing at the highest level. The tournament has provided a platform for scouts and footballing enthusiasts to identify future stars of the game.
While it may be the end of Congo’s AFCON journey, the players and coaching staff will return home with valuable lessons and experiences that will help them in their footballing careers. With the right guidance and opportunities, they could be the face of African football in the future.