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Beach soccer off to Afcon Monday

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Malawi National Beach Soccer Team leaves the country on Monday for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals scheduled for Vilankulo, Mozambique.

The continental competition runs from October 21 to 28 on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

Beach Soccer Association (BSA) Chairperson Gift Chimbalanga said they will depart early to adapt to conditions in the neighbouring country.

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“We do not want to take chances. We are still keeping fingers crossed that we will play one friendly match while in Mozambique,’’ Chimbalanga said.

He said they are discussing with Football Association of Malawi on the possibility of travelling with three extra players.

The team will travel by road using the newly acquired Malawi National Football Team bus. Caf rules and regulations allow 12 players per team at the tournament.

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This means any addition to the list is covered by teams themselves.

Coach Willy Kumilambe is expected to name his final squad this weekend.

Last week, Kumilambe trimmed his squad from 26 players to 18.

Team manager Panganeni Ndovi said preparations were at an advanced stag, having played friendlies against local teams.

’’Preparations are still ongoing and they are progressing very well. The players are competing for places and the mood is also awesome,’’ Ndovi said.

Malawi are in Group A of the competition alongside hosts Mozambique, Morocco and Nigeria.

The opening match for Malawi is against hosts Mozambique on October 21.

Malawi will then meet Morocco before winding up their group assignments against Nigeria.

Two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals of the competition, with the finalists qualifying for the 2023 Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup.

Malawi qualified for the finals on the away goals rule after an 8-8 aggregate score with Tanzania.

This is Malawi’s first appearance at the continental finals.

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