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Sporting Events for Young Talents to Look Forward to in 2019

The year 2018 had us thrilled with many sporting activities from the very first month, to the last, giving a lot of grassroots talents the chance to shine. The Youth Olympic Games was the showpiece event for rising stars, with Buenos Aires playing host to games that exposed grassroots products like flyweight (51kg) boxer, Adijat Gbadamosi, to the world. With such opportunities to compete against world class opposition, talents build the necessary experience and confidence their young careers need. In 2019, there will be a number of these such opportunities and we take a look at a number of them here.

Adijat representing Nigeria at the Youth Olympics boxing final where she won the silver medal

Tennis

We start with the Tennis Junior Grade A tournament recently awarded to Tennis South Africa. It is the first time such a high brow tennis tournament will be hosted on the continent and is set to be played in the second half of 2019. There will be valuable ranking points up for grabs, and will see under-18 athletes compete to earn them.

Youth tennis players on the continent will be looking for a good outing on home soil at the tournament. Henning Philip of South Africa, who is the highest ranked u-18 boys player on the continent will hope for a good outing in front of his home supporters. Burundian Nahimana Sada who’s also ranked in the girls top 100 in the world will look to climb up the rankings in the newly awarded ITF event.

Tennis SA President, Richard Glover with young tennis players

Nigerian Sports Festival champion, 15-year-old Quadre Barakat Oyinlomo is one gem to look out for in junior girls tennis. She dominated Grade 4&5 events in the West African region in 2018 with some quarterfinal showings in continental competitions and rounded off her year with a clean sweep of medals in the women’s singles and doubles event at the NSF 2018, as well as the mixed doubles event.

Football

In football, the continent’s rising talents will compete in tbe U-17 and U-20 nations cup for men. Aspiring footballers still stand a chance to be at the finals in Tanzania and Niger respectively. The U-17 boys tournament also serves as qualifiers for the FIFA U-17, World Cup to be held in Peru between 5th and 27th October, 2019. Tanzania (hosts) have been grouped alongside Nigeria, Angola and Uganda in Group A, while Guinea, Cameroon, Morocco and Senegal will slug it out in Group B. Two teams will qualify from each group and also represent the continent at the global event.

Kelechi Iheanacho of Nigeria celebrates his goal against Mexico during their U-17 World Cup UAE final soccer match at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi November 8, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Tags: SPORT SOCCER) Picture Supplied by Action Images

The under-20 AFCON will also serve as qualifiers for the FIFA under-20 World Cup scheduled for Poland at the same time as the U-17 tournament. The U-20 AFCON will be hosted by Niger between 2nd and 17th February 2019.

Basketball

In basketball, scouts will have their eyes on the FIBA Africa U-16 championship for boys, in a bid to find the next big thing. Although the host nation has not been confirmed, it is a biennial competition that last held in 2017, and the tournament will serve as qualifiers for the FIBA U-17 World Championship 2020.

Bangkok, Thailand is scheduled to host the FIBA U-19 Women’s basketball World Cup in 2019. 16 teams from five confederations will slug it out between 20-28 July 2019 to crown the next women’s U-19 champion; and Mozambique will be making their debut at the World Cup alongside African champions Mali. The boy’s under-19 World Cup will also take place next year from 29th June to 7th July 2019 where Mali and Senegal will represent the African continent.

NBA Africa Academy players sponsored by the SEED Project. Photo Source: Twitter

Although qualifiers have already been played for the above listed events, basketball coaches in the qualified nations will still be looking out for talents that can boost their squad to the World Cup. With hardwork, commitment, dedication and a little bit of luck, aspiring basketball players should look forward to making the squads for the upcoming competition.

Finally, the FIBA 3X3 U-18 World Cup is scheduled for Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in 2019, and this will afford street basketballers a chance to fly their countries colours at the championships.

Boxing

In boxing, male grassroots talents can watch out for the AIBA world amateur boxing championship to be held in Sochi, Russia from 7 – 21 September 2019. This event comes up later in the year, and gives budding talents enough time to prepare in anticipation of a chance to make the games.

Athletics

In athletics, the Africa U-20 championship will keep to its biennial tradition, and while a host hasn’t emerged, athletes can be certain of an opportunity showcase their best and gain the attention of the world. The last edition was held in Tlemcen, Algeria in 2017. It is expected that there will be youths sports festival in different states in Nigeria, to find talents that will represent the state at the annual National Youth Games, whose fifth edition will hold at the University of Ilorin for athletes under-15.

Balikis Yakubu blowing her UNILAG fans a kiss after her 200m gold with a personal best of 23.92s at the West African University Games in Port Hacourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

While the aforementioned are all high profile events happening across the world, there will also be a number of local football trials in the Nigerian National league, Nationwide league one and two, and other leagues in South Africa. It is usual tradition for teams to conduct open trials to source new players for the coming season.

With growing government, corporate and individual interests in sports, athletes can hope for a brilliant year in 2019. Moreso, innovation like the AMPZ talent discovery platform will make it easier for talents to navigate the hectic process of building careers and avoiding exploitation.

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