If you're interested in the upcoming 2017 U-20 World Cup, it might pay to keep an eye on the 2017 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations. African teams were a significant presence at the 2015 round of FIFA youth World Cups: Nigeria and Mali contested the final of the U-20 tournament; Senegal and Mali made the semifinals of the U-17 competition.
Certainly, Red Bull Global soccer was paying attention to the last round of youth World Cups, and particular attention to the Mali squads. Diadie Samassekou has aged out of the youth teams, and is a first team regular for RB Salzburg. The current Mali U-20 squad includes three players who are (or will be) on Salzburg's books: Amadou Haidara, Sekou Koita (due to join Salzburg when he turns 18), and 16-year-old Ousmane Diakite. All three were on the Mali squad at the 2015 U-17 World Cup, as were several other players in Mali's U-20 team for this tournament - including Zoumana Simpara.
The New York Red Bulls tried to emulate their Austrian sibling's interest in Malian youth internationals, signing Simpara to a contract with their reserve team, NYRB II, for 2016. The teenager was on the periphery of the squad that won last season's USL Cup, but limited minutes were expected of one of the younger players on the team and one who also presumably needed some time to acclimatize to a new country as well as club. Surprisingly, however, he was released by NYRB II at the end of the season. In an interview with FootMali.com, Simpara indicated he felt let down by RBNY, and would be seeking to advance his career elsewhere.
For now, he's back with his youth international team, in the hunt for another appearance at a youth World Cup. He is listed as attached to AS Bakaridjan, the club he was with prior to moving to NYRB II.
For a glimpse of Simpara and a crowd of promising young players in the Red Bull Global Soccer system, find a way to watch the Mali U-20s in this tournament.
The AFCON U-20 tournament features only eight teams, divided into two groups of four. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the U-20 World Cup, and will go on to contest knockout rounds to determine the AFCON U-20 champion.
This year's tournament is being held in Zambia. Mali shares a group with Zambia, Egypt, and Guinea.
Per livesoccertv.com, the game should be available in the US via BeInSports Connect.