Madagascar wins first Seychelles hosted COSAFA beach soccer tournament
COSAFA President, Seychellois Suketu Patel presenting the trophy to Madagascar as the winner of the tournament on Saturday. (Louis Toussaint, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The national beach soccer team of the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar put up an impressive performance winning all three games played at the COSAFA beach soccer tournament held in Seychelles from April 9 to 11.
Madagascar was presented with the champion’s trophy on Saturday after winning the final match 9-4 against Malawi.
Aside of Madagascar and Malawi, the three-day tournament saw the participation of three other COSAFA member countries; Seychelles, South Africa and Mauritius as well as guest participant the United Arab Emirates.
Malawi ended the competition in second place, the UAE team came out third, and Mauritius managed a fourth place finish while Seychelles and South Africa finished fifth and sixth respectively.
The competition which is set to become an annual event was being played at the newly built beach soccer stadium at Roche Caiman, not far from the Seychelles capital of Victoria.
The COSAFA competition has surely given beach soccer enthusiasts in the Indian Ocean archipelago a taste of what is to come as the 2015 Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) African beach soccer championship kicks off at the same venue on Tuesday.
Seychelles will be joined by Nigeria, Egypt and Cote D’Ivoire in Group A while Madagascar’s Group B comprises of Senegal [defending champions], Morocco, Ghana and Madagascar.
Competitive beach soccer, a sport which started in Brazil, is not very popular on the African continent compared to South America and Europe.
It was only in 2013 that Seychelles launched its first beach football league and to date several teams are actively trying to develop the sport.
CAF organizes a beach soccer competition every two years to get two African teams to qualify for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, also held every two years.
The April 14 to 19 championship in Seychelles will hence see the winning team declared African beach soccer champion on top of qualifying along with the runner-up to represent the African continent at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup to be held in Portugal in July this year.
Brazil have dominated the game in the last two decades, bagging 13 of the 17 World Cup to have been played so far.