Football: Seychelles exits CHAN 2016 after losing 9-1 on aggregate against Mozambique
Action of the match between Seychelles and Mozambique at Stad Linite on Saturday July 4. (Louis Toussaint, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles will not be going through to the next qualifying round of the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) after losing for the second time in two weeks against Mozambique in the first qualifiers.
After losing 1-5 in its first leg match in the central port city of Beira on Saturday June 20, the Seychelles national football team suffered another heavy defeat last Saturday on home turf.
The second leg match played at ‘Stad Linite’, the main stadium at Roche Caiman on the outskirts of the Seychelles capital saw the home team succumb 0-4 against the Mozambican side.
This means Mozambique, with a 9-1 aggregate margin, advances to the next phase of the qualifiers for the 2016 African Nations Championship to be held in Rwanda from January 16 to February 7, next year.
For the Seychelles side, the match on Saturday was an opportunity to put up a good show in front the fair-sized crowd that had turned up for the encounter although it seemed almost impossible to avoid exiting the competition, but even that proved quite difficult as the island nation conceded all four goals in the first half of the game.
In an interview with SNA the caretaker coach of the Seychelles national team Ulrich Mathiot said they had started off on the offensive knowing the opposing side had quite good techniques and that their strategy was also an attempt to prepare for the first match the team will play against Madagascar in the Indian Ocean Island Games to be held next month on the neighbouring island of Reunion.
However, the gamble failed to pay off, effectively creating more space for Mozambique to operate and maintain possession of the football which led to the four goals in the first 45 minutes of play.
“If we did not intervene we could have conceded more goals. So for the second half we played the same way we did at the COSAFA cup,” said Mathiot.
“The true face of our team was what we saw in the second half.”
In its matches against Namibia and Zimbabwe at the 2015 Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Cup in South Africa in May, the Seychelles team had taken a rather defensive approach knowing that they were facing more superior opponents.
Seychelles did not go further than the group stage of the COSAFA cup managing to concede two goals and scoring none in three matches played. And before the away match against Mozambique two weeks ago the Seychelles footballers had endured a 4-0 loss in their first qualifying match for the 2017 African Cup of Nations (CAN 2017) against Algeria, last month.
Seychelles will face another uphill task when they host Ethiopia in the next round of the CAN 2017 qualifiers in September but before that, the attention will be shifted to the Indian Ocean Island Games where the Indian Ocean archipelago will be out to defend the discipline’s gold medal won at the last games which Seychelles hosted four years ago.
According to Mathiot, the national team comprising of 21 players including 3 goalkeepers will be heading to Algeria at the end of this week or the beginning of next week for a two-week training camp ahead of the upcoming regional sports manifestation in Reunion island.
“Our first match in Reunion will be against Madagascar then Maldives and Mayotte. We are confident in the ability of our players and we will not be playing against teams that are of the same level that we have been playing recently so we are not doubting the team and still believe that we can put up a good performance in our pool at the Indian Ocean Island Games.”
Mathiot told SNA that there is still time to make necessary changes within the team and to adjust before a final selection is made for the games which will be held between August 1 to 9.
Seychelles will be sending a 300 plus delegation to the games comprising of athletes, officials, coaches among others who will be taking part in various sports disciplines.