The Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations 2019 ended on a high note at Cairo International Stadium with the hosts Egypt taking the title in a 2-1 win over Côte d'Ivoire front of full stadium.
After 14 days in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, the three teams that will represent Africa at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo emerged – Egypt, Côte d'Ivoire and South Africa, following a strong fight by the eight participating teams who gave the world a taste of the talent in African youth football.
Hosts Egypt were crowned champions after surviving a late scare from the Ivorians, before captain Ramadan Sobhy scored the winning goal in the second half of extra time.
Before the final, South Africa wrapped up the final slot for Tokyo, edging Ghana 6-5 on penalties after a 2-2 stalemate in regulation time.
“This U-23 is one to remember in the areas of organisation and the results on and off the pitch.” Said CAF President Ahmad.
He added: “To the three qualified teams, Egypt, Côte d'Ivoire and South Africa, I look forward to seeing you compete next summer in Tokyo. You will be great ambassadors for our continent.”
Despite being a youth competition, one of the recognisable features of the tournament was the striking attendance and patronage of matches at the Cairo International Stadium. For the final, a record of 68,000 fans were in attendance, which is the highest, as far as the quadrennial championship is concerned.
The tournament also drew huge numbers in TV viewership with millions across the continent and beyond watching budding talents of African football.