Right to Dream boys were crowned champions of the 2022 Gothia Cup in the U17 category after beating Swedish side BK Häcken 4-2 in the final at Gamla Ullevi Stadium on Saturday.
RTD have now won the title of the prestigious youth tournament held annually since 1975 in Gothenburg, Sweden, six times and this marked RTD’s fourth consecutive title win.
Djimi Traore’s side got off to a flying start as they were already 1-0 up by the 10-minute mark, courtesy of a Levy goal. The boys let their early lead slip as BK Häcken netted the equalizer just before the break. They, however, regrouped and Cissé was on target right after the restart before completing his brace on 39 minutes.
The Swedish side pulled one back 10 minutes from time. However, Levy scored a second goal to seal the win, guiding the team to a 4-2 victory that saw them celebrate the title win in front of big crowds.
Traore was full of praise for his players after watching them lift the trophy of the world’s biggest youth tournament, saying that hard work and teamwork were keys to RTD’s title win.
“I’m extremely happy for the boys. They have been working so hard, not just this week, but for many months to be where they are right now,”
“I’m so proud of the way they came together as a team, after losing our captain on Wednesday, it was tough on them, but it shows the resiliency of our team and how it’s not about one player being the hero, but about each and every one of them stepping up when they are called on,”
the Champions League winner added.
The team missed the services of their skipper after he was subbed out with injury in their final group game. The boys, however, were up for the challenge, as they showed determination and resilience to fill the void left by their injured captain and keep on winning.
RTD’s exciting road to the final had several other experiences and heart-warming moments that reflected football’s humanitarian side and the purpose that guides and pulls our players.
The best moment was perhaps against Rayados de Monterrey AGS when RTD boys allowed the opponents to score unopposed right after scoring against their injured keeper in an amazing showcase of sportsmanship, exhibiting that for them, football isn’t just about winning matches, but also about solidarity, purpose, and fair play.
Moved by their drive and passion for the game and the wide support from the fans, the U17 enjoyed every moment of their Gothia Cup journey. They kicked off the group stage with a morale-boosting 3-1 victory over Swedish side IFK Norrköping before beating IFK Göteborg a 6-0 in the second game. The fan-favorite side wrapped up their group matches in an emphatic fashion with a 5-1 win over Mexico’s Rayados de Monterrey AGS to finish at the top of Group 5 on 9 points.
A 3-0 win over Swedish outfits Helsingborgs IF sealed RTD’s spot in the semi-final. The boys then defeated Brazil’s Audax 3-1 to set up a meeting with BK Häcken in the final.
With big crowds following and supporting the team in all matches, RTD boys made sure to give fans something to cheer about. They bagged a stunning 24-goal haul in six matches, as the team went to lift the Gothia Cup trophy.
To put the icing on the cake, Cissé was named the tournament’s MVP after putting in impressive performances and netting seven goals.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the fans and my teammates for their support. I couldn’t have done it without them,”