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Off balance

Beach Soccer coach laments Nigeria withdraw

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Malawi National Beach Soccer Team Coach Willy Kumilambe has expressed fear after Nigeria withdrew from Group A of the 2022 Beach Soccer Afcon finals as it might limit his team’s chances of progressing in the competition.

Kumilambe feels the group will be more competitive as each side will play two matches instead of three.

This follows Caf’s announcement that Nigeria will not take part in the tournament, which will take place from October 21 to 28 in Mozambique’s City of Vilankulo.

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This has left Malawi, hosts Mozambique and Morocco as the only three teams in the group, with Caf saying Nigeria will not be replaced.

“As per the regulations, if a team withdraws before the start of the competition, the team against which the team in question has played in the qualifiers should be qualified. However, since this t e a m is Libya, who have also withdrawn from the qualifiers, Group A will consist of three teams only (Mozambique, Malawi and Morocco) and Group B, which has defending champions Senegal, Uganda, Madagascar and Egypt, will not change,” reads part of communication from Caf.

Following the development, Kumilambe said playing two games instead of three may have an impact on their chances of making it to the semifinals

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“This is a surprise to us and also unfortunate because we were preparing to play more matches. Apart from us [teams], the organisers and fans will also be affected as the number of matches has been reduced.

“As for chances of qualifying for the semifinals, it is going to be tough because we are going to be rated after playing two games while teams in other groups will be rated after three matches. However, we will work hard and plan well to collect results in the two matches so that we make it to the knockout stages,” he said.

According to Kumilambe, his technical panel has assembled a very good team and their camp training is going on well in Salima ahead of the tournament.

Kumilambe is expected to name the final squad for the tournament by the end of this week.

Malawi Beach Soccer booted out Tanzania to qualify for its first ever Afcon finals.

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