Find out which team is bringing youthful energy to shake up AFCON 2023

FOOTBALL Find out which team is bringing youthful energy to shake up AFCON 2023

Festus Chuma 16:00 - 04.01.2024

A youthful squad sets to make a striking impact at AFCON 2023, showcasing a fresh approach in African football.

When the curtains rise on the 34th Africa Cup of Nations this January, Tanzania's Taifa Stars will step onto the stage with a team radiating youthful energy, contrasting sharply with Egypt's experienced Pharaohs.

The tournament, set to unfold in the vibrant city of Abidjan, promises to be a battleground where age and experience meet the vigor and audacity of youth.

With an average age of just 24.64 years, the Tanzanian squad is poised to inject a burst of youthful exuberance into the prestigious tournament.

At the forefront of this young brigade are Haji Mnoga from Aldershot Town and Ben Starkie of Ilkeston Town.

Both 21-year-olds have rapidly risen through the ranks to become fully-fledged internationals for Tanzania since March 2022.

Starkie, qualifying through his Tanzanian mother, Happy, found his way into the national team following a journey that saw him part ways with Leicester City.

Mnoga, with a lineage tracing back to Zanzibar through his father Suleiman, previously donned the England U17 jersey alongside notable names like Liverpool's Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho.

In contrast to this youthful vigor, Tanzania's squad is anchored by the experienced Mbwana Samatta, the 31-year-old PAOK Salonika star striker, who brings a blend of skill and maturity to the team.

This youthful trend is not just a Tanzanian phenomenon as Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, and Burkina Faso are also fielding young squads, with average ages ranging from 24.7 to 25.07 years.

On the other end of the spectrum, Egypt leads with the oldest squad in the tournament, boasting an average age of 28.67 years.

They are closely followed by Cape Verde, Namibia, South Africa, and Mozambique, indicating a preference for experience over youth.

One of the most anticipated storylines of the tournament is the potential appearance of Cameroon's 17-year-old midfielder, Wilfried Douala.

Under the guidance of coach Rigobert Song, Douala's participation would make him one of the youngest players at AFCON 2023. 

Follow Pulse Sports WhatsApp channel for more news.