Angola will be among the favourites at the TotalEnergies U-17 Africa Cup of Nations | COSAFA Qualifier from December 2-11 as they seek to retain the title they won at the Region 5 Games in Maseru last year.
On that occasion they defeated Zambia 2-1 in the decider for a second regional championship having claimed a maiden title in 2018.
Indeed, Angola have flexed their muscles since their return to the COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship four years ago, finishing in the top three in the final standings on each occasion.
That includes that tournament win in 2018, and is a remarkable show of consistency from a country that has long produced excellent footballers on a regular basis.
Their title four years ago came when they claimed the trophy with a 1-0 victory over South Africa in the final.
That qualified the side for the African Under-17 Championship where they took home the bronze medal, though runners-up Guinea later had their records expunged after being found guilty of fielding two over-age players.
Angola therefore competed at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Brazil, their debut on the global stage, where they made the second round before losing 1-0 to South Korea.
Along the way they beat New Zealand and Canada, both by 2-1 margins, but lost their final pool match 2-0 to Brazil. It was still an impressive debut.
Angola have competed at the African Under-17 Championship on six occasions, with their bronze medal in 2019 heir best performance. They also exited in the group stages in 1997, 1999 and 2017.
They will be looking to make a return this time round with the top two teams in Malawi qualifying for the 2023 continental finals in Algeria. There was no competition in 2021 dur to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Angola made their regional debut in the 2001 COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championships but did not make it past the group stages, while it was the same story in 2007 when they finished third in a four-team pool.
They beat Eswatini 3-1, but then lost to Zimbabwe and Namibia, both by 2-1 scorelines.
Angola did not return until 2018, when they breezed through the pool stages with wins over Malawi (1-0), Eswatini (4-0) and Zimbabwe (2-1), defeated Namibia 7-0 in the semifinals and then edged South Africa in the decider.
They were back in 2019 and made a stuttering start, losing 1-0 to Mozambique in their opener. But wins over Lesotho (3-1) and Comoros (3-0) saw them into the semifinals, where they lost to eventual winners Zambia (2-0).
They did take home the bronze medal though with a handsome 5-0 win over Eswatini.
They featured in the four-team 2020 competition that was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and defeats to both Zambia (2-1) and South Africa (2-1) meant they finished third in the pool thanks to a 7-1 thumping of Malawi.
They met the Malawians again in the third-place play-off and although it was a tighter affair, still triumphed 2-1 to take bronze for the second year running.
And last year they eased to a pair of group stage wins against Botswana (2-0) and Malawi (4-2), before brushing aside Eswatini (3-0) in the semifinals.
Last five tournament finishes:
2017 – Did not enter
2018 – Winners
2019 – Third
2020 – Third
2021 – Winners