Friday 07 December 2018, 08:00

African elite converge for beach showpiece

  • Beach Soccer World Cup qualifiers get underway

  • CAF Cup of Nations awards two places at the global showpiece

  • Reigning champions Senegal are title favourites

The process of qualifying for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 begins on Saturday 8 December when the ninth edition of the CAF Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations gets underway.

Fact file

  • Host City: Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

  • Date: 8 -14 December

  • At stake: Two places at Paraguay 2019

  • Group A: Egypt, Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar

  • Group B: Senegal, Nigeria, Libya, Tanzania

  • The top two teams in each group advance to the semi-finals. The champions and runners-up qualify for Paraguay 2019.

Three key questions

1: Was there a qualifying campaign

Yes. Ten nations took part, of which five teams earned spots at the tournament: Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Madagascar, Morocco and Tanzania, who will make their debut. Hosts Egypt and the 2016 finalists, Senegal and Nigeria, were already qualified.

2: Is there a clear title favourite?

Yes, Senegal. The record champions have lifted the trophy four times, all of which have come in the last six tournaments. Furthermore, they have qualified for each of the last four Beach Soccer World Cups and reached the quarter-finals at Bahamas 2017. Given their history and experience, Senegal are the team to beat.

3: Who are the other contenders?

Two-time African champions Nigeria (2007 and 2009) have participated at five Beach Soccer World Cups, including Bahamas 2017; Madagascar, surprise champions in 2015 and fifth-placed finishers in 2017; and Côte d’Ivoire, two-time runners up and sixth in the last edition.

Did you know?

  • Of the three countries that have featured at every edition of the Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations (Egypt, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire), Egypt are the only side never to have qualified for a Beach Soccer World Cup.

About the Beach Soccer World Cup

  • Paraguay will be the first landlocked country to host the tournament

  • The competition will be staged in South America for the first time since 2007

  • This will be the tenth Beach Soccer World Cup. The tournament has been held in five of the six confederations (CONMEBOL, UEFA, AFC, OFC and CONCACAF).