Matters Arising: Can Nigeria Host Beach Soccer Nations Cup After Uganda Withdrawal

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Among 14 decision taken at the last videoconference meeting of the CAF Executive Committe, was that a new call will be launched to host the Beach Soccer African Cup of Nations 2020/2021 after the withdrawal of Uganda to host the tournament.

Federation of Uganda Football Association said failure to meet the deadline set for inspection activities and the uncertainties casued by the global Coronavirus pandemic ultimately led to the withdrawal.

Eventually, the decision has presented yet another opportunity for countries on the continent to bid for hosting the tournament. Perhaps one would think Nigeria who have hosted the tournament before would throw in the interest to do it once again.

Mahmud Hadejia, Chairman Kebbi State Beach Soccer Association and former NFF Committee member on Beach Soccer/Futsal when asked about the prospect of the Country to play host to the tournament said he believe the country has the wherewithal to do it again.

His words; “Why not! Nigeria is a big player in Beach soccer not just in Africa but around the world. It’s just that 2016 to 2020 might be too close. I believe the Nigerian Football Federation and the Government will be best placed to consider hosting”.

Also responding to the development, Isiaka Olawale is the Former Captain of the Nigeria Beach Soccer, also known as Sand Eagles, he expressed different opinion from that of Mahmud.

“I don’t think Nigeria can host it, because there is no more Beach Soccer National team as they have disbanded us after the world cup.

Olawale said that even though they were not disbanded; the country doesn’t value Beach soccer and also don’t have its league compared to some other countries on the continent.

Lagos : The centre of Beach soccer and epic centre of Covid-19

Lagos has always been a Beach Soccer major location; If at all the country is considering hosting the tournament, it would be difficult to play host to the participating countries due to its current challenges as the epic centre of novel coronavirus.

With its inherent status as the economic nerve centre of the country and foreign concentration, could any other location prove suitable for the tourney?

Both Mahmud and Olawale while responding to the imaginary concern of Lagos location both agreed that Kebbi, Abuja, Kaduna and Kwara State can be another best destination for BSAFCON if the country eventually shows interest.

Beach Soccer National Team : Is it Suspended or disbanded.

Talking about the expectations from the Nigeria team to the tournament having won it twice in the past.

It was reported that the Nigeria Beach soccer team structure was not in place even as the Nation Cup draws nearer.

According to reports, the team’s poor outing to the last Beach soccer World Cup has ignited the narratives of the team being allegedly suspensed or disbanded.

Mahmud has this to say, “There has always been great hope of the team to deliver at African level in particular but I believe the team was suspended not disbanded after the poor run of results and performances in the last FIFA World Cup in Paraguay.

While reacting also to the issue, Olawale said that the team was disbanded. He described the development as an unfortunate situation noting that there wasn’t enough preparation to commensurate the expectations of the country at the mundial.

“After the World Cup, they decided to disband the team and I don’t think we deserve that because the records are there to speak for us.

He argued that as far as there is no Beach soccer league in Nigeria and there was no poroper preparation; the team can’t do anything significant.

“I want them to look back and see the records when we used to go to training tour, the way we prepared and check the level at which the players were determined to represent the flag.

While the question of the teams being allegedly suspended or disbanded still hangs in the air, Mahmud is very optimistic of stronger come back.

His words, “We are optimistic with the current structures currently taking place and also with ( sic) the needed support from NFF, the team will bounce back and show that ability and great performances the country expects from them. Nigeria cannot afford not to participate in the Beach Soccer AFCON which also qualifies the top two finalists to the World Cup in Russia 2021.

Senegal are the most successful nation in Beach soccer history in Africa having won the championship five times and are also the current champions.

In terms of success in qualifying to the World Cup, again Senegal are the most outstanding nation, having qualified in seven out of nine attempts. Nigeria follow closely behind, with six qualifications.

This will be BSAFCON 10th edition and the Nigeria National Beach Soccer Team had won it on two occasions.

However, CAF has noted that the Beach Nations Cup will likely to hold next year due to the current ravaging Covid-19 pandemic

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