James K. Attaglo Wilson

Mali became the first team in African to successfully defend the African U-17 title after beaten the twinkle twinkle little Starlets of Ghana 1-0 on Sunday, May 28 in the finals of the Total U-17 African Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 at the Stade de l’Amitie.

Seme Camara’s first half goal from the spot was all but what the Aiglonnets [Mali] needed to triumph over the Black Starlets to become one of the four counties [Ghana, Nigeria, and the Gambia] to have won the junior championship twice since its inception in 1995.

Ghana gifted Mali a penalty in the 20th minute which was converted into goal following a rebound as Starlets goalie, Danlad Ibrahim punched the first attempt into play, but his defenders were completely caught ball watching allowing Camara to break the deadlock.

Danlad Ibrahim came to the rescue of Ghana again in the 30th minute when he saved Mamadu Sameke’s penalty.

Mali, undoubtedly the better side on the night created enough scoring opportunities in the second half, but their numerous attempts at goal could not beat goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim.

Meanwhile, Guinea also thumped Niger 3-1 to win the bronze medal.

Mali, Ghana, Guinea, and Niger will represent Africa at the upcoming FIFA U-17 world cup in India.