Good start for Nigeria, Senegal, Cote D'Ivoire and Madagascar as the CAF beach soccer championship gets underway in Seychelles
The Seychelles team in action against Nigeria on Tuesday. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The 2015 Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) African beach soccer championship kicked off in Seychelles on Tuesday with Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal and Madagascar making wins in their debut matches.
It is the first time the Indian Ocean archipelago with a population of around 90,000 people is hosting the championship.
Seychelles, Nigeria, Egypt and Cote D’Ivoire make up Group A while Group B comprises of Senegal [defending champions], Morocco, Ghana, and Madagascar.
Two-time champions Nigeria, having won the competition in 2007 and 2009 proved their superiority when they defeated the host nation 10-1 in their opening match at the Seychelles National Beach Soccer Stadium at Roche Caiman, not far from the Seychelles capital of Victoria.
In the other Group A match, Cote D’Ivoire managed to edge Egypt after a penalty shootout. According to an article published by the daily newspaper, Seychelles Nation, the score read 3-3 between the two sides after normal time but in the end “the Ivorians won 3-1 on penalties for a 6-4 victory.”
Cote D’Ivoire finished as runners-up of the last competition in 2013 after having achieved the same feat in 2009.
Morocco and Senegal in action in the first group B match on Tuesday at the Seychelles national beach soccer stadium at Roche Caiman. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY-NC
In group B, Senegal highlighted its intention to defend its title thrashing Morocco 7-3.
Senegal has won the most CAF African beach soccer championship claiming the title in 2008, 2011 and 2013.
After winning the inaugural COSAFA beach soccer tournament held in Seychelles last weekend the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar has also hinted that it will be putting up a good fight in group B, ending the first day of the competition with a 9-4 victory against Ghana.
The championship enters its second day today and will see matches between Nigeria and Egypt while Seychelles will play Cote D’Ivoire in the group A matches.
Group B’s Morocco will be playing Ghana while Madagascar will clash against Senegal.
The championship will end on Sunday and will 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.
Brazil have dominated the game in the last two decades, bagging 13 of the 17 World Cup to have been played so far.
Competitive beach soccer, a sport which in fact 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.