Sand Cranes seek pride in World Cup pursuit

Sand Cranes relishing their second appearance at the Beach Soccer Afcon. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

The tournament also acts as the qualification route for African teams to the 2023 Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup; the winners and runners-up will qualify.

None of the 2022 Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations finalists is in Mozambique for a picnic ahead of the tournament kick-off on Friday.

Six-time winners Senegal are favourites with last year's losing finalists Mozambique and 2015 bronze medalists Nigeria expected to run them close.

The latter were also finalists in 2016 and 2018 before missing the last edition. But Senegal are the team to beat.

"We will respect all our opponents but we are not afraid of anyone. It will be at a very high level but no one is safe because the others are working and progressing. It will be a very tough competition," Senegal coach Mamadou Diallo told Cafonline.

They will also offer Uganda’s first hurdle when they two face off tomorrow in Maputo. The Sand Cranes, semifinalists in Dakar last year, have improved under Swiss coach Angelo Schrinizi.  

"I was poor at shooting on target, swiftly moving in the sand and defending well but that has changed since the new coach came in. We expect better results in Maputo," defender Paul Lule admits.

Upon qualifications after the Sand Cranes ejected Comoros in the qualifiers, Fufa gave the 24-man team Shs185m to share out which literally translated to Shs7m to every member.

The tournament also acts as the qualification route for African teams to the 2023 Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup; the winners and runners-up will qualify.


2022 Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations

Group A: Mozambique, Malawi, Nigeria and Morocco

Group B: Uganda, Senegal, Madagascar and Egypt

Sand Cranes fixtures

Tomorrow: Senegal vs. Uganda, 3pm

October 23: Uganda vs. Madagascar

October 24: Uganda vs. Egypt

Other fixtures – Group A

Today: Mozambique vs. Malawi

Sunday: Morocco vs. Mozambique

Tuesday: Malawi vs. Morocco


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