Road to the (Futsal) World Cup starts next week

Road to the (Futsal) World Cup starts next week

by Staff Reporter

Saturday Apr 06, 2024. 13:00

Fancy a trip to Uzbekistan? No, me neither. But that will be the goal for eight African teams when they kick-off the 2024 Futsal Africa Cup of Nations next Thursday.

Okay, what is Futsal?

Futsal is essentially a serious version of five-a-side football. It’s played on a hard surface (similar to the size of a tennis or basketball court) and is mainly held indoors. It’s five players per team (one of whom is a goalkeeper), unlimited substitutions, with two halves of 20 minutes apiece.

It’s a fast-paced distillation of all the things we love in football, with the technique and creativity to operate in minimal space especially important.

And what is the Futsal AFCON?

It’s the Futsal version of the traditional Africa Cup of Nations. This will be the eighth edition (technically the seventh, since the 2011 tournament was cancelled), with Egypt winning the first three tournaments in 1996, 2000 and 2004 to firmly establish themselves as the dominant Futsal nation on the continent. Since then, Libya (2008) and Morocco (2016 and 2020) have triumphed to continue a North African domination of the tournament.

When and where will it be played?

For the second tournament in a row, the Futsal AFCON will be held in Morocco, at the Moulay Prince Abdallah and IBN Yassine Halls in Rabat, from April 11 to April 21. It was originally meant to take place in Mozambique, but the country later declined to host the competition.

Who’s playing in this tournament?

There are eight teams, split up into two groups: Group A is made up of Morocco, Angola, Ghana and Zambia, while Group B features Egypt, Libya, Namibia and Mauritania. The top two teams from each group advance into the semifinals, which will be followed by a third-place playoff and final.

Why should we care about this?

Aside from being a really intense and entertaining form of football, this tournament will also serve as the qualifiers for the Futsal World Cup, with the top three teams in the AFCON earning a spot at the global event, which will be held in Uzbekistan in September and October.


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