Beach Soccer: Tanzania face Uganda in opener

NATIONAL beach soccer team begins COSAFA Beach Soccer Championship campaign today against Uganda at South Beach Arena, in South Africa.

After facing East African rivals Uganda in their Group B opener, they will clash with Egypt and a final pool stage meeting with Mauritius.

In Group A there are Mozambique, Senegal, Seychelles and South Africa.

The nation’s head coach Boniface Pawasa said they had a successful training and are sure they will win this year’s title after taking a second position in the previous season.

“We have had the best preparation in Dar es Salaam that includes analysing our opponents strength from group stage so as to secure victories that will enable us climb to the semifinals, the final and win the title.

Last season we grabbed a second place. This year, we look forward to win the COSAFA Championship.”

Last year Tanzania drew 4-4 with Mozambique in their group opener but lost the tie on penalties, before beating Comoros 2-1 to finish second in the pool on their way to semis.

There they defeated  Angola 5-2 in arguably their best showing of the tournament, but came unstuck against Mozambique in the decider as they went down 3-1.

The Tanzania squad comprises; Adam Oseja of Mburahati, Ahmed Juma of Bubu, Ibrahim Hamidu of Huru, Shaban Hassan of Ihefu, Eric Manyama of KMC, Ismail Gambo of KMC, Juma Sultan of Huru and Mtoro Nassoro of Msasani Mabingwa.

Stephano Nkomola of Green Warriors, Sadick Rajab also from Greem Warriors, Jaruph Rajab of Huru, Ibrahim Ibadi of Kijitonyama, Goodluck Gama of Friends of Mkwajuni, Yahya Tumbo of Huru, Stephano Mapunda of Mburahati and Abdillah Mohamed  of Ilala FC.

Their top scorer the last year was Abdulkadir Tabib, who netted five goals, just ahead of Stephano Mapunda, who netted four.

The team first qualified for the continental finals in 2018 but it proved a chastening experience as they lost all three pool matches to Libya (2-5), Senegal (2-12) and Nigeria (2-4).

They were then beaten 5-2 by Madagascar in the play-off for final positions, but a 6-5 extra-time victory over Libya made sure they avoided the wooden spoon.

Tanzania returned to the tournament in 2021 but again lost both pool matches, 3-4 to Uganda and 1-3 to Senegal, at least providing a closer contest this time round.

That put them into the play-off for fifth, but they lost 2-4 to Egypt.

They failed to reach the 2022 continental finals when they were eliminated by Malawi in the qualifiers, the teams stamped a 8-8 draw  on aggregate before Malawi advanced on the away-goal rule.

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