Huge strides made in football development

Sello Rabothata

Sello Rabothata

The development of football has become a top priority for many countries across Africa and that augurs well for the future of the game on the continent and beyond.

Age group tournaments for junior national teams have increased, instead of associations waiting for the Confederation of African Football to organise the more high-profile ones that often result in cheating caused by the desire to win at all costs.

To this effect, the African Soccer Television show took its cameras along to Didier Drogba's country of birth for the Toulon Soccer Festival for Under-17 national teams.

It was hosted by France before and included European countries.

It is now an African affair and, as in all junior tournaments, the four-nation event saw plenty of action and goals, which are highlights of the show to be screened on SABC1 Sport's Laduma programme on Sunday.

The games saw Tunisia ousting Gabon 1-0 in a tight encounter, while Ghana couldn't understand why the Gabonese had problems as they just cruised past the Tunisians with a 3-0 pasting.

While Gabon were still reeling from that shock, Ivory Coast had no sympathy and instead buried them 4-1 in a one-sided game.

The final was contested by two evenly matched sides in Ghana and Ivory Coast, who slugged it out before the west African side edged the hosts by a single goal to nil in a nail-biting finish.

The 2008 Ligue 1 was also too close to ignore over the same weekend as Ivorian giants Stella Club edged USC Bassam 1-0; ES Bingerville drew 1-all at home to Issia Wazi; and SOA got the better of Stade Abidjan with a 2-1 victory.

Ivorian super club Asec Mimosa were held to a 1-1 draw by Sabe Bouna.

In Namibia a 2008 MTC NFA Cup game saw Civics making full use of home-ground advantage, ousting African Stars 1-0.