The U-17 World Cup starts on Friday. Theo Sakyi profiles 6 players who look set to impress at the tournament and beyond.
Habibou Sofiane – Niger
Habibou Sofiane is the standout player in a Niger side that may struggle in India. The Nigeriens had a favourable draw at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and their sole win at the tournament came against Tanzania. Now drawn against two tournament favourites, Brazil and Spain, Niger will need Sofiane to shine if they are to have a chance of qualifying. The midfielder has a buttery soft first touch and is good in possession under pressure.
Djibril Fandje Toure – Guinea
The physically developed 14-year old was the golden boot winner at the U-17 AFCON tournament with 6 goals. A flamboyant dribbler who will entertain, if he starts firing early against Iran and Costa Rica, Guinea will have a good chance of qualifying going into the final group game against Germany.
Aminu Mohammed – Ghana
WAFA FC’s Aminu Mohammed is arguably Ghana’s most well-known player coming into the tournament. The precocious youngster has already played with Red Bull Salzburg (WAFA are an affiliate of the Red Bull Group) and has trialled with Manchester City. He’s a good finisher who can play as a winger or behind a centre-forward.
Kudus Mohammed – Ghana
Mohammed is a late-comer into the squad-he, along with others in the squad, was only drafted in to the squad after the U-17 AFCON tournament due to academy commitments and might spring a surprise upon first-time viewers. The stocky, left-footed midfielder is has a powerful shot and is a good box-to-box player. The Right to Dream Academy captain has shown the ability to come up with something special in big moments.
Abdoul Salam Ag Giddou – Mali
The boy from Guidars FC dons the number 10 shirt and is completely deserving of it. Surrounded by good counter-attacking players, Salam has good vision, takes the ball in his stride expertly and sees opening passing lanes quickly. He can be knocked off the ball easily, but he’s a rare African number 10.
Djemoussa Traore – Mali
Mali are an organised side who are compact in defence and will break at a dangerously fast pace, especially with Traore in the side. He’s an exciting left winger who likes to go outside of the opposing full-back and cut the ball back to an onrushing attacker.