Over the years, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, Sammy Kuffuor, Alex Song, Mahamadou Diarra, Seydou Keita and others have used the African Under-17 finals as a springboard to eventual contracts with the likes of Chelsea, Bayern, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Yet hundreds of others have never progressed from the potential shown at age group events to reach the top nor even enjoyed a professional career, and countless African football fans will tell you that the thorny issue of age-cheating is largely to blame.
In some cases, careers have peaked before they're properly began but the much-maligned Confederation of African Football (Caf) is trying to address this issue at this month's U17 finals in Rwanda - where they've age-tested all the players.
Two years ago, Caf was stung by the run-up to the U17 World Cup in Nigeria where Fifa were introducing MRI scans for the first time. Wary of the tests, Africa's competitors decided it might be wise to do their own before the finals - and the results were damning.