Algerian starlet, Moslem Anatouf adopts  Osimhen as role model

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After delivering a man of the match performance with a two-goal return against Somalia in the opening match of the U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Saturday,

The skipper scored both goals in Algeria’s win and was selected player of the game, having dazzled and showed numerous flashes of his brilliance.

The forward, who turns 17 in May, spoke exclusively to CAFOnline.com on his ambitions for the tournament and what his team hopes to achieve.

He spoke of the admiration he has for Nigerian goal poacher Victor Osimhen, whose star also started shining at the U17 tournament in 2015.

How have the preparations been for the tournament?

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This is a team that has been in the works for the last three years. Our preparations started way back but heading into the tournament, we intensified over the last few weeks and we played some friendly matches to ensure we are ready.

The friendly matches helped us to study our areas of strength and weakness and we feel we are ready to compete now.

The Algerian team won the U17 Arab Cup last year. Does that give you the hunger for the African title?

The Arab Cup was one of our avenues for preparation of the U17 AFCON which has been our main target. We want to perform well and obtain a ticket for the World Cup. Winning the Arab Cup definitely motivated us and now our goal is to become African champions.

What are your personal ambitions during the competition?

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My primary ambition is to help my country win the title and that means I give my best whenever I am handed an opportunity to play, by scoring goals.

The U17 AFCON is always an opportunity for young players to demonstrate their abilities. Does this tournament inspire you to look forward to making a big transfer?

This is true, and I personally have been very familiar with the story of the Nigerian international, Victor Osimhen. His story is motivating for young players and this competition is a great platform for players to shine and give themselves a chance to be scouted, especially since there are several clubs following the matches.

You have mentioned the story of Nigeria’s Osimhen, do you want to replicate his path?

Absolutely yes. He is a player who has set an example for me in my career and I am determined to go all the way just as he did.

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Who is your global role model?

My global role model is Kylian Mbappe. He is a player I aspire to be like.

You starred during the 2022 Arab Cup with Algeria, have you received offers to turn professional?

I haven’t had any offers to move out and after the Arab Cup, I preferred to still stay at my Academy as I first looked to be stable especially because the interval between the Arab Cup and the AFCON was short. I preferred to remain there and concentrate on this first.

From which teams do you expect competition in this tournament?

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This competition will involve 12 teams, all of whom are candidates to win the title. There are strong teams like Mali, Burkina Faso, Morocco and Senegal. Everyone has shown that they have the class and capability and it will be a close tournament to call.

What would be your special message to the home fans ahead of kick off?

I would like to ask the Algerian public to come out in large numbers to the stadium and support us because their presence is a motivation for us and always remains special. This support will provide us the strength we need in the field and it will make a big difference.

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