KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Uganda national Beach Soccer team, Sand Cranes will face record champions Senegal in the group stage at the forthcoming Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2022.
Eight teams will feature in the tournament slated to take place October 21-28th in Maputo, Mozambique.
In the draw conducted this afternoon in Maputo, Mozambique, the Sand Cranes have been drawn into group B alongside Senegal, Madagascar and Egypt.
The Sand Cranes qualified for the Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations 2022 after seeing off Comoros 9-5 on aggregate.
It will be a tough group for Sand Cranes, facing Senegal which is the defending champions of the tournament after they defeated Mozambique 4-1 in the final to win the championship last year for a third successive time. It was also the sixth time in the history of Beach Soccer AFCON, better than any other team.
It will however be a familiar fixture for Uganda having met Senegal in their 2021 Beach Soccer AFCON opening tie that they lost 5-1. Group A has Mozambique, Malawi, Nigeria and Morocco.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Uganda’s Football Associations- FUFA has today unveiled former Switzerland National Angelo Schrinzi as the new Uganda Sand Cranes head coach to lead the team at the Beach Soccer AFCON 2022.
While unveiling the coach, FUFA President Moses Magogo noted that although the Sand Cranes had previously qualified for the biggest Beach soccer tournament on the continent, the team lacked a technical approach to the game that would not favor them against giants on the continent.
During the last edition of the Beach soccer AFCON, Sand Cranes finished fourth after falling to Mozambique in the semifinals and Morocco in the playoffs. Magogo says, the Federation decided to look for a person who would instill technical competence in the team after doing thorough consultations.
He believes that with the new coach on board, the Sand Cranes qualify for the 2023 FIFA Beach Soccer world cup via the Beach soccer AFCON whose two finalists will advance automatically to the world cup.
Speaking after being unveiled, Schrinzi said he will use the limited time to ignite the competence of the Sand Cranes players before heading to Mozambique for the final tournament.
”I have been in the game for several years and I believe Uganda is moving in the right direction. Playing at Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations for the first time and reaching the semifinals means there is potential here,” he said.
Before the Beach Soccer AFCON, Sand Cranes will take part in the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations – COSAFA Beach Soccer Tournament 2022 slated for 25th September to st October 2022 in South Africa.