COSAFA Beach Soccer Championships draw set for March 7

The eagerly anticipated draw for the pool stages at the 2023 COSAFA Beach Soccer Championships will take place on Thursday, March 7, when the eight participating teams will learn their path to glory.

The fourth edition of the regional competition will be staged in Durban from March 17-23, and features eight sides who will be drawn into two pools of four.

Among the field, Saudi Arabia will be the first ever non-African nation to take part in any COSAFA event, while Morocco and regular visitors Tanzania will also be on show.

The draw will be held at 11h00 CAT and will be streamed live via COSAFA’s Facebook, YouTube and Instagram platforms.

Hosts South Africa will be the top seeds in Group A, while Morocco, the highest ranked of the remaining seven sides, takes take seed status in Group B.

The remaining sides have been paired into three pots – Mozambique and Malawi in Pot 1, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania in Pot 2 and Angola and Seychelles in Pot 3.

Each pot will be drawn in sequence, with the first team out going into Group A and the second team into Group B, and so on.

The pool stage fixtures are scheduled for March 17, 18 and 20, with the semifinals on March 22, and the final and bronze medal match a day later.

Hosts Madagascar won the inaugural event in 2015, which was played as a one-off and did not see the COSAFA Beach Soccer Championship return to the calendar for six years.

Madagascar were also African champions after they beat Senegal in the final of the continental competition nine years ago, the only COSAFA country to so far lift the Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations trophy.

Mozambique defeated East African guest nation Tanzania in the COSAFA final in 2021, a match that brought to an end a thrilling competition that was both hugely entertaining but also showcased the incredible skills in the region.

The 2022 COSAFA Beach Soccer Championship was won by African powerhouse Senegal, who beat Egypt 5-3 in the decider. Mozambique finished fourth after losing 8-7 to Uganda in the bronze medal match.

The championship has been a hugely popular addition to the COSAFA calendar in what is a fast-growing format of the sport and on the back of Seychelles being named host to the 2025 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup next year.