26-year-old forward to represent Les Fauves in 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers | Image Credit: Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC
WINDSOR, Colo. — Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC forward Donald Benamna has been called up by the Central African Republic national team for 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Madagascar on March 23 and March 27.
Benamna is the first active Hailstorm player to be selected for his national team.
“This is beyond exciting for me, honestly,” Benamna said. “It is a privilege and honor to represent my country. A very special opportunity that will always remain within my heart.”
This won’t be the first go around for Benamna with Les Fauves, as he has represented his country on three previous occasions, including in a pair of qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations against Morocco in November 2020 and a 2019 friendly against Niger.
“When we signed him, I saw glimpses of his ability whilst playing for his country in 2020,” Hailstorm Head Coach Éamon Zayed said
Benamna will be hoping to help Central African Republic qualify for its first major tournament, as they currently sit three points behind Angola and Ghana for the final qualifying spot in Group E for the Africa Cup of Nations finals, which will take place in January. The final qualifying matches take place in June and September.
“To be able to represent your country is the pinnacle of any professional player’s career,” Zayed added. “It’s such a magnificent and proud moment not only for the player but also the whole Hailstorm family.”
Benamna's Northern Colorado debut will be pushed back until April 1 at the earliest, as he will miss the Hailstorm's season opener at Chattanooga Red Wolves SC on March 25.