Launches Exciting 2023 Baby Jet U-16 African Football Tournament
An eagerly anticipated event, the 2023 Baby Jet U-16 African Football Tournament, has been officially launched in Accra. The tournament, set to take place at Cape Coast Stadium from June 6 to June 13, aims to unearth the next football prodigy destined for Europe.
A well-attended press conference held at the MultiChoice Ghana head office marked the beginning of this year’s tournament, as key stakeholders gathered to kickstart the search for future African football stars. Former Black Stars internationals, including Stephen Appiah, John Paintsil, Laryea Kingston, Emmanuel Agyeman Badu, and Nii Odartey Lamptey, graced the event, receiving support from the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and the Ghana Football Association (GFA), represented by Anthony Baffoe and Bernard Lippert, respectively.
Organized by the Asamoah Gyan Foundation, this annual tournament has become a trademark event, providing a platform for young talents to showcase their potential. Adding an exciting twist this year, several African clubs have been invited to participate in the showcase.
The tournament will feature 32 teams, including football academies from Togo, Nigeria, Benin, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso, who will compete against 22 Ghana-based clubs at Cape Coast Stadium. The inaugural edition took place in 2018 at the Accra Academy Astro Turf, with Great Somas emerging as the champions. Notably, the tournament played a significant role in discovering talents such as Matthew Anim Cudjoe, now playing for Scottish side Dundee United, as well as Emmanuel Yeboah, currently with Cluj, and Raymond Anokye Asante, recently joining Udinese.
The tournament’s impact on player development is evident with success stories like Samuel Gidi (Zilina FC), Michael Lamptey (Zilina FC), Derrick Mensah (WAFA), and Moses Abbey (Italy), all products of the Baby Jet U-16 Football Tournament. Additionally, Ofori Academy, the 2019 champions, will be participating in this year’s football gala.
Former Black Stars forward Asamoah Gyan expressed his excitement during a media interaction, eagerly anticipating the commencement of the tournament.
“I am honoured to be where I am. When you talk about the Baby Jet U-16 Tournament, it is something to say thank you to Ghanaians for their support all these years and this is the only I can do to give back,” he said.
“This year, we are trying to take it to the next level by looking at [countries in] the sub-regions in Africa to also participate.”