By Mabvuto Kambuwe in Vilankulo, Mozambique:
All is set for the kick-off of the 2022 Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals at Vilankulo Arena in Vilankulo, Mozambique, Friday.
Teams battling for the continental crown are Malawi, hosts Mozambique, defending champions Senegal, Egypt, Uganda, Madagascar and Morocco.
All the seven teams arrived in the Indian Ocean coastal town on Wednesday ahead of the tournament, which is the biggest beach soccer competition on the continent.
The Group A showdown between Malawi and Mozambique will be the opening match of the competition.
Pomp, colour and fanfare are expected to characterise the opening ceremony.
Malawi will be hoping to make history in their maiden appearance at the event with hopes of causing one of the biggest upsets in the game’s history.
After Malawi’s first full training session at Vilankulo Arena Wednesday, coach Willy Kumilambe said his troops were ready.
’’We are not scared of facing any team. The boys are determined to do the job for Malawi,’’ Kumilambe said.
Malawi’s hopes are pinned on players such as Sandram Saddie and Isaac Kajamu.
However, Malawi are underdogs in the competition, with no experience at this level.
They also failed to play any international friendly during their preparations in Salima District.
Football Association of Malawi President Walter Nyamilandu arrived in Vilankulo Wednesday to offer moral support to the team.
Malawi went to Mozambique by road and were the fourth team to arrive after Morocco, Senegal and Madagascar.
An 8-8 draw with Tanzania was all Malawi needed to qualify for the finals on the away goals rule following a 3-2 win at home and a 6-5 defeat away.
Two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament, with the finalists making it to the 2023 Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup.