Nigeria will battle Morocco for one of the two spots available for the continent at the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in the Bahamas when they square up in the semifinals of the CAF Beach Soccer Cup of Nations on Saturday (today) at the Eko Atlantic City.
The second semifinal will feature Senegal and Egypt. The two finalists of the Beach Soccer AFCON will represent Africa at the Beach Soccer World Cup, which will hold between April 27 and May 7, 2017.
The Super Sand Eagles finished on top of Group A with two wins and a draw while the Moroccans were second in Group B behind Senegal. Nigeria defeated Egypt 3-2 before they lost 3-1 to Ivory Coast on penalties after a 4-4 draw in regulation time. The Sand Eagles defeated rivals Ghana 4-3 to complete their group stage matches.
For Morocco, they lost 2-1 to Senegal before defeating Libya 9-3 and beating Madagascar 2-1 to finish the group stages with six points.
Nigeria have appeared to be struggling since the tournament started and will have their hands full against the Moroccans who have scored 12 goals and conceded on six against Nigeria’s 11 goals scored and nine conceded.
Nigeria have won the title twice while the Moroccans have yet to win the continental title. The Eagles will rely on the experience of such players as Abu Azeez, Victor Tale, Ogbonaya Okemiri among others.
Team captain, Isiaka Olawale, said the World Cup qualification was the first goal on the team’s mind.
“We are working really hard to make Nigerians proud,” Olawale said.
“The World Cup qualification is the first thing on our mind because we believe that we can represent the continent better than what happened at the last World Cup. The matches have not been easy but we have been able to pull through them.
“Winning the competition will also prove that Nigeria is still one of the strongest countries in African beach soccer. But first we are ready for the semifinal match.”