Royal Giants High School flagged off to South Africa
By Emmanuel Sekago
Kampala – After winning the CECAFA zonal schools championship held in Dar-es Salaam, Tanzania, Uganda’s only representative at the inaugural CAF African schools championship slated for early April in Mityana-based Royal Giants High School is more than ready to bring pride to the nation.
On Tuesday while at Parliament, the Bukooli Central Member of Parliament Solomon Silwany on behalf of the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among handed over USD5,000 (Shs18m) to the team plus flagging them off ahead of the schools championship due in Durban South Africa that leaves on Saturday, 1st April 2023.
It should be noted that the CAF African schools football championship continental final will run from April 5th to 8th where the best schools’ teams on the continent will meet to crown the inaugural champions in the boys’ and girls’ events.
The African schools football championship continental finals will kick-off on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, with the final to be played on Saturday, April 8.
All games will be played at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi, south of Durban. And today Wallnetnews brings you the numbers on this innovative competition that provides a massive boost to youth development on the continent.
Royal Giants High School of Uganda qualified for the continental finals after a tense penalty shoot-out win over Geda Roble Secondary School from Ethiopia in the boys’ final of the CECAFA preliminaries.
The decider ended 0-0 and it was then a matter of who could hold their nerve from the spot, with Royal Giants winning 4-2. The girls’ qualifiers are Fountain Gate Dodoma Secondary School from Tanzania as they beat Ethiopia’s Awaro Senior Secondary 3-0 in the final.
This is the first year that the African schools football championship will be played, a groundbreaking event for football development on the continent.
The African schools football championship was staged in three phases – the national phase, where the top teams from competing countries were decided, the zonal phase, where the best from CAF’s six zones emerge, and now the continental phase, where the top boys’ and girls’ team on the continent will be crowned.
CS Horizon of Bukavu from DR Congo claimed a comprehensive 3-0 win over Congo-Brazzaville rivals Groupe Scolaire Louis Samuel in the final of the boys’ competition in the UNIFFAC region. It was reversed in the girls’ final as CEG Mfilou (Congo-Brazzaville) beat Uwezo School Complex of Goma (DR Congo) 1-0 in the decider.
There will be four teams competing in Durban from the COSAFA region as hosts, South African Football Association, provided the winners of both the boys’ and girls’ competitions in the zone – Clapham High School and Edendale Technical. They take the two slots allocated to the host association, meaning the runners-up in the zonal qualifiers also take part-Salima Secondary School from Malawi (boys) and Seychelles’ Anse Boileau (girls).
Scan Aid from Gambia showed their undoubted talent with four wins from four games to seal a continental finals place from the girls’ competition at the WAFU A zonal qualifiers. It was much tighter in the boys’ event as Complexe Scolaire Ben Sekou Sylla from Guinea needed penalties to see off New Yundum from Gambia in the final following a 0-0 draw.
Junior Hondoka scored four goals to claim the bolden boot in the WAFU B zone and help his side from Benin, CEG Sainte Rita, to victory over Cours Secondaire Venus Saioua from Côte d’Ivoire in the final. It was in fact a Benin ‘double’ as CEG Colby claimed the girls’ competition with a shoot-out victory over Ecole Chanvigny B from Burkina Faso in the final.
There are eight players per side in CAF African schools football championship matches, with unlimited substitutes able to be used.
The qualifiers from the UNAF region both claimed a full haul of 12 points from their four group games in the zonal competition to book their places with a 100% record. The boys’ qualifiers are Ecole Hedi Ayadi from Tunisia and the girls’ team is Ecole Omar Ibn Khatab of Morocco.
A total of 14 teams will take part in the championships across the boys’ and girls’ events. The boys’ teams are CEG Sainte Rita (Benin), Clapham High School (South Africa), Complexe Scolaire Ben Sekou Sylla (Guinea), CS Horizon of Bukavu (DR Congo), Ecole Hedi Ayadi (Tunisia), Royal Giants High School (Uganda) and Salima Secondary School (Malawi).
In the girls’ competition the teams are Anse Boileau (Seychelles), CEG Colby (Benin), CEG Mfilou (Congo-Brazzaville), Ecole Omar Ibn Khatab (Morocco), Edendale Technical (South Africa), Fountain Gate Dodoma Secondary School (Tanzania) and Scan Aid (The Gambia)
The CAF African schools football championship teams are made up of players aged 12-15, with a single match lasting 40 minutes. There are two halves of 20 minutes separated by a 10-minute period of halftime.
Teams from 41 countries have taken part in the inaugural 2022-2023 African schools football championship. 44,000; the number of boys and girls who have taken part in this year’s championship.
Meanwhile, the Motsepe Foundation has donated USD10m in prize money for the tournament, making it comfortably the richest school’s event on African soil. The winners of the boys’ and girls’ competitions will receive USD300,000 each. The runners-up receive USD200,000.