Seychelles closer to group stage of AFCON 2015 qualifying rounds after Gambia is suspended
(Seychelles News Agency) - Will it be against Swaziland or Sierra Leone? That is the question to which the Seychelles national football team is eagerly awaiting for an answer.
One of the two will be the opponent of the Indian Ocean island nation’s football team now that it has easily sailed through to the second qualifying round for the 2015 African Cup of nations (AFCON).
This follows the decision of the Confederation of African Football CAF to suspend Gambia’s Football Association from all CAF competitions for a two year period, the same team that was supposed to meet Seychelles over two legs later this month in the first qualifying round for AFCON 2015.
The caretaker coach of Seychelles national team Ulrich Mathiot has described this new development as a blessing in disguise as this will give the new national team more time to prepare and improve the squad.
"This will give us more time to recruit more players so as to bring more maturity to the team by recruiting more experienced players given that our next opponent will be much stronger than Gambia" he told SNA.
Mathiot feels that the current squad has too many young players hence the need to bring more mature seasonal members in.
Both Sierra Leone and Swaziland are ranked higher than Gambia and it is highly probable that Seychelles will be faced with Sierra Leone in the next round, a country that has played top level football for many years.
To note that Seychelles lost to Swaziland by 1-0 in a COSAFA cup match several years ago, but as Mathiot puts it this is a completely different ball game.
"We really need to prepare extensively for either Swaziland or Sierra Leone because we are dreaming of making it to the group stage".
To note that Seychelles has never qualified for the African Cup of Nations.
Seychelles will meet one of the two teams in mid July meaning an additional two months to prepare, and in event the Seychellois footballers manage to overcome Swaziland or Sierra Leone they will reach the group stage of the AFCON 2015 qualifiers and this would put them up against Africa's super powers in football namely Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Democratic Republic of Congo.
"This will be extremely good for Seychelles Football especially for our fans and it will raise the visibility of Seychelles in the world of soccer and contribute immensely in football education locally" said Mathiot.
The Seychelles head coach will be using this as a motivating tool to engage the national team players.
Though it may seem virtually impossible to get past these super giants it would be an honor to welcome Cameroon, Ivory Coast and the Democratic republic of Congo to our shores, but first Seychelles has to make it past either Swaziland or Sierra Leone in July.
For now however, the dream is still very much alive.