Africa’s top Futsal nations will battle it out for the three FIFA Futsal World Cup spots when they meet in the 6th edition of the tournament to be held in Laayoun, Morocco which will kick off on Tuesday, with the final set for February 7.
Eight nations will descend upon the north African country targeting the desirable title, which will see the top three finishers representing Africa at the 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup in from September 12-October 4 in Lithuania.
Hosts Morocco, who will be out to retain the title, face off with Libya, Equatorial Guinea and debutantes Mauritius in Group A. Group B pits record three-time champions Egypt, Guinea, Angola and Mozambique.
“We are delighted as a country to be hosting this event. We believe because of our readiness and existing facilities CAF has seen it fit for us to once again to play host to one of their prestigious tournaments where the top three coming from this tournament will head to the World Cup in Lithuania later this year,” read a Morocco Royal Football Federation statement.
The association is hopeful that hosting the event will give more momentum on the sport growing in the north African country.
Egypt who last won the tournament in 2004 are the most successful team in AFCON history with three titles.
However, in the previous edition Morocco emerged 3-2 winners after a tightly contested match and will be hoping to retain the trophy on home soil.
The event is held under the auspices of the CAF for the men’s national teams.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals. Semi-final winners and third-place winners qualify for FIFA Futsal World Cup.
The qualifying three African teams will make up the 24 countries at the World Cup.
Futsal is a variant of association football played on a hard court, smaller than a football pitch, and mainly indoors. It has similarities to five-a-side football. Futsal is played between two teams of five players each, one of whom is the goalkeeper.
The game began in South America and Europe though in Europe was majorly an indoor sport. Later it was taken up by FIFA and has competitions in form of World Cup for men and women from U18 to senior level.
In Uganda futsal formally began in 2015 with Corporate Gala won by Wazei Club and Inter University Gala won by Mubs. In 2016 the game moved a step further with Corporate Gala won by Coca Cola team and this paved way for the Futsal Mini league won by Sauna.
Today the game is governed by FAU under the supervision of FUFA. At the moment there are a number of local competitions starting with the Futsal Super League and later Futsal Copa Uganda