Shooting Stars of Sierra Leone will kick start their qualification U20 Zone A campaign with an opening contest against Mali on Monday at the Stade Cheikha Ould Boïdiya.

After a series of intensive training sessions, the national U20 37-man contingent is expected in Nouakchott Mauritania today ahead of their opener.

The regional competition is set to commence (tomorrow) on the 28th of August – will serve as a qualifying tournament for the 2023 Africa U20 Cup of Nations in Egypt. 

Shooting Stars of Sierra Leone, who have never been to the U20 Nations Cup, have a chance to break through this time. After their training camp in Kenema City, coach Sillah believes his side is fully ready to face the challenges starting from Monday.

“We are impressed with the players’ mental strength, physical approach, and coordination. Such performance will be replicated during the tournament”, Sillah was quoted as saying.

Mali were the runners-up in the tournament hosted in Guinea 2019 after a 2-0 defeat to winners Senegal. Sierra Leone suffered an 8-7 defeat to the Gambia on penalties to secure fourth place.

Sierra Leone edged into the semi-finals with a 3-2 win over host Guinea. A Suffian Kaloko brace ensured Shooting Stars make the last four at the September 28 stadium in Conakry, Guinea.

The two finalists in Mauritania will book their tickets to the U20 Africa Cup of Nation 2023 held in Egypt from February 18 to 12 March.

A total of twelve teams qualify to play in the final tournament, including host Egypt.

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