Top Five: U-17 Afcon wonderkids who never realised their potential

Comments()
Getty Images
Goal profile five players who starred at the U-17 Afcon, but didn’t build on that success

  1. Twitter/HJK

    Macauley Chrisantus

    Chrisantus is best known for his star turn at the U-17 World Cup in South Korea in 2007, where he won the Silver Ball, but had earlier announced himself to an African audience at the African Championship earlier that year.

    The striker memorably scored in a 5-0 mauling of Morocco en route to the final tournament, where Nigeria emerged victorious, defeating Togo after extra time in the final.

    Chrisantus appeared set to build on that early promise, but wasn’t able to translate his scoring form to a senior professional career.

    At 28, he’s currently with UB Conquense in the Spanish third tier, following spells with AEK Athens, Real Murcia, Las Palmas, HJK Helsinki, Sivasspor and many others.

  2. Getty

    Agyemang Opoku

    Despite being only 29, the forward has been out of the professional game for the last seven years, having last played for Levski Sofia back in 2012.

    When he burst onto the scene at the 2005 African U-17 Championships, he looked like he had the potential to be a future key man for the Black Stars, notably netting a goal a game before Ghana were defeated by The Gambia in the final.

    He’d go on to represent his country at the U-17 World Championship in Peru later that year, before winning the U-20 World Cup with Ghana four years later.

    His playing career included spells with Ashanti Gold, CS Sfaxien and Al-Sadd, but injuries denied him the chance to build on his early success.

  3. STANISLAV FILIPPOV/AFP/Getty Images

    Ousman Jallow

    Jallow scored the only goal of the final in the U-17 Nations Cup in 2005 as The Gambia defeated Ghana 1-0—a remarkable achievement for such a tiny nation.

    The forward also represented his homeland at the U-20 World Cup and African Championship in 2007, amidst rumours linking him with a move to Arsenal or Chelsea.

    However, work permit problems ultimately denied Jallow the chance of a dream move, and sent him on a less glamorous career path.

    He’s featured for the likes of Brondby, Caykur Rizespor, HJK Helsinki and Irtysh Pavlodar, but never truly reached the heights that once were expected of him.

  4. New Edubiase site

    Bernard Bortey

    Where did it all go wrong for Dong Dada Diouf?

    The attacker delivered a serious of outstanding showings during the 1999 U-17 Afcon, as Ghana thumped Burkina Faso to win the title.

    He scored in the semi-final against Cameroon, and in the final, but was unable to translate that success to a memorable career.

    The 36-year-old still amassed 27 Black Stars caps—contributing for over a decade after his 1999 triumphs—but never achieved success outside of his homeland, going on to play briefly in Israel, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates.

  5. Getty Images

    Bernard Bulbwa

    At 22, it’s not too late for Bulbwa to become a success in the game, although much more was expected from the youngster after he starred for Nigeria’s youth sides.

    As well as scoring the winner in the final of the 2015 U-20 Afcon—winning the Goal of the Tournament award for his strike—he also impressed during the 2013 U-17 tournament, as Nigeria were defeated in the final by the Ivory Coast.

    The attacker is currently with Moroccan side Mouloudia after struggling to adapt to life with Tunisian giants Esperance.