From Africa to Arco: Senegal and Ghana’s prospects to join Trofeo Beppe Viola

The Dakar's Academie FC Baobab and the Accra's Glow-Lamp Soccer Academy will show their talents in the 48th edition of the U17 international tournament on March 7th-12th

22 january 2019

Europe is a place of dreams, hopes, opportunities, even on a football pitch. Next March 7th-12th Garda Trentino will once again showcase the U17 talents taking part in the 48th Torneo Città di Arco – Trofeo Beppe Viola. One of the big novelties of Arco’s 2019 international tournament will be two teams of talented African youngsters: the Academie FC Baobab from Dakar (Senegal) and the Glow-Lamp Soccer Academy from Accra (Ghana). The “Beppe Viola” will be a unique occasion both for them and for the scouts looking for new prospects.

The Academie FC Baobab – officially registered eleven months ago and aiming at technically and tactically improving Senegal’s young players – has been founded by Paolo Berrettini, former manager of Italy’s Youth Teams for 15 years, European champion with the U19 “Azzurrini” in 2003 (a team including players like Chiellini, Aquilani and Pazzini) and then coach of Congo’s U17 and U20 National Teams. The players of the Academie are personally selected by Berrettini’s staff. “Africa is a flourishing continent for what the sports and the human aspects concern: there are lots of interesting guys with a bright future ahead. We want to give them the opportunity to get to the European football, awarding the worthiest. We decided to take part in the Trofeo Beppe Viola accordingly”, Berrettini explained.

After a childhood spent playing football on dirt roads the athletes of the Academie FC Baobab can now train on an artificial turf field two-three times a week. Berrettini and his staff wish to build a comprehensive structure with pitches, hotel, pool and school in Thies, 50 km from Dakar, with the collaboration of Senegal’s Ministry of Sport and the expected support of the EU.

The Accra‘s Glow-Lamp Soccer Academy was founded in 2010 by a former young prospect that Pelè “named” as his natural heir: the 44-year-old Nii Odartey Lamptey, winner of the U17 World Championships in 1991 with Ghana‘s “Black Starlets“. In past years Ghana’s National Team – the so-called “Africa’s Brazil” – launched footballers with the likes of Essien, Appiah, Muntari, Koffour, the two Asamoah (Gyan e Kwadwo), Boateng, Thomas, just to mention the latest “big guns”. In the wake of the Nineties’ splendours, the Glow-Lamp is one of Ghana’s most renowned football academies: some of the talents discovered by Lamptey’s staff were already capped in the National Youth Teams. Featuring two grass pitches, hostels, busses and modern facilities, Nii Odartey Lamptey’s academy wants to lead the way and the goal of Pelè’s lost heir is involving other former Ghana’s football stars in similar activities. Arco could be a springboard for a brilliant future also for his young players.

The presence of the two Africans selections is one of the greatest novelties of the 48th Trofeo Beppe Viola: the talent of fame-seeking guys could impress the other contenders, flipping the odds of Italy’s most prestigious Under 17 international tournament.