“Total U-20 AFCON was a great tournament” - Watson

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Uganda’s former international Edgard Watson, member of CAF Technical Study Group (TSG) of the Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations, Mauritania 2021, said he has a “positive assessment” for the competition that waits the final whistle on Saturday (6 March 2021).

Ghana and Uganda lock horns at Stade Olympique de Nouakchott with curtains falling on the 2021 edition of the Total U-20 AFCON, and for Watson “It was a good tournament, showing the growth of the game across the continent, and the need to continue working to advance.”

EDGAR WATSON

Football level

“The level of the competition is high, but there is still a lot of work to be done looking to the same age category on other Confederations. Work must continue to help these young players to progress further both technically and tactically.

“If we look closely at the teams present in Mauritania, they often played 4-2-3-1. It is a tactic that allows teams to give free rein to their attackers and helps build good defensive way. Many players can intervene defensively, and this is certainly the reason for the relatively few goals scored during the competition, especially in the quarterfinals. There is serious work needed to help young forwards score more.

“The other good note is the presence of local coaches. I am happy to see a Cameroonian coach of Mauritania for example, and I was amazed by the presence of a female goalkeeper trainer with Tanzania. This is exceptionally good.”

Teams from all zones

“I was happy to note that in the semifinals, we had teams from of three development zones: two teams from the West (Ghana and Gambia), one from the North (Tunisia) and another from the East (Uganda). This means that everyone is working well on their side, and this tournament allowed teams and coaches to see the results of their work. The gap between teams will decrease, young footballers will progress further and have a great experience at the top level.”

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New emerging forces

“It was good to see teams like Central African Republic, Gambia and Uganda at this level of the competition. These teams offered great matches and were not just extras, it gives a different interpretation of African football and it confirms that with work, everyone can move forward. Talents are everywhere and you just need to set up development programs to find the right vein. Alongside Cameroon, Ghana and Tunisia, there are the others who are proving themselves, and this can only be beneficial for continent’s football.”

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Emerging prospects

“While it is true that collective work was put forward by most of the teams present at this competition, I was pleased to note prospects that may emerge in the future. I saw some of Morocco players who were with the U-17 team in Tanzania 2019. It is good to allow these young people to continue their progression from U-17 to U-20. Technically and tactically, they have been remarkable. Cameroon’s Junior Sunday Jang showed great talents as a striker. He is a future great finisher, he has great potential and if he continues working, I have no doubt he could be a future great. In this tournament, there are future good midfielders and forwards.