Bwalya tips Ghana and co. for success at U-17 World Cup

The 1988 African Footballer of the Year believes Africa would mount a strong challenge at the global gathering

Former Zambia Football Association president Kalusha Bwalya is confident in the chances of Africa's representatives at the upcoming U-17 World Cup to be held in India in October.

Mali, Ghana, Guinea and Niger have been granted the privilege to represent the continent after making the last four of the African championship, which ended in Gabon on Sunday.

And after watching all four sides play, the former Zambia captain says Africa will be a force to reckon with in India.

"The standard has been very high and the four teams going to the World Cup have all played very well," Bwalya told the BBC.

"There's no doubt in my mind that the future of African football is very bright.

"Ghana and Guinea set the tempo for the tournament while Niger defied all odds to qualify for their first ever youth World Cup and that's a great achievement."

Africa have a big reputation to protect at the world championship, having won the tournament on seven occasions.

Nigeria, who will not be in India, are the world's most successful team in the history of the competition with five titles, while Ghana won gold in 1991 and 1995.

"Don't forget that Africa has done very well in the under-17 tournaments and I think all these teams are good for the quarter-finals and more," Bwalya said.

"This Malian team is good as the team that got to the final last time around and Ghana are looking really sharp.

"I'm confident these teams will uphold our reputation as Africans in the junior tournaments."

The draw for India 2017 will be held on July 7 in Mumbai.

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In Sunday's final of the African championship, Mali beat Ghana 1-0 to claim the trophy for the second time.

Guinea, meanwhile, handed Niger a 3-1 defeat in the third-place playoff to claim bronze.