Dar es Salaam. Serengeti Boys will camp in Spain ahead of the U-17 Africa Youth Championship (Afcon), which is scheduled to be held in the country from April 14 to 28, this year.
Sports minister Harrison Mwakyembe said the team would connect straight to Spain for the residential training, after their European Football Associations (Uefa) campaign in Antalya, Turkey.
Currently, the Serengeti Boys are fine-tuning at the Karume Memorial Stadium in Dar es Salaam under the tutelage of coach Oscar Mirambo. They will launch their campaign in the Turkey tournament on March 3 against Guinea.
Tanzania and Guinea are in Group A together with Australia and the hosts Turkey. Group B comprises Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda and Morocco.
The tournament was to kick off from February 22 to March 2, but organisers rescheduled it reportedly at the request of the hosts.
Mwakyembe said that after the Turkey camp, the team would travel directly to Kigali, Rwanda for a series of buildup matches against Cameroon, Uganda and the host, Rwanda.
According to the minister, the authorities have set up a “very intensive programme” for the team with the aim to get the title.
“We are very proud of the team. Caf and Uefa have since honoured the Serengeti Boys by selecting them to be among the nations that will feature in the Turkey special tournament,” he said. “This is a huge achievement for us.” .
Expectations are high in the country that the Serengeti Boys will make history in the tournament and later compete in the U-17 Fifa World Cup to be held in Peru between October 5 and 27. Last year, Serengeti Boys competed in the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five Games in Gaborone, Botswana, where they claimed the title after beating Angola 6-5 on penalties.