Special guest for next month’s COSAFA Beach Soccer Championship!

The COSAFA Beach Soccer Championship will return to the South African coastal city of Durban for the fourth edition to be staged from March 17-23, with a special guest in this year’s line-up of eight teams that will make regional history.

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.

Several guest nations from outside the COSAFA region have used the regional tournament to grow and develop for continental and global competitions – most notably Senegal and Egypt – and this year it will be the turn of Saudi Arabia.

The Middle East nation becomes the first ever non-African country to compete in a COSAFA event, a further sign of the global reach of our competitions in the Southern African region, which provide world-class organisation and facilities for visiting teams.

Also among the guest nations this year are debutants Morocco and Tanzania. The latter were finalists in the 2021 competition, where they lost out to Mozambique in the decider, and also appeared in 2022 but did not make it out of their pool.

The five COSAFA nations that make up the field are hosts South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Seychelles, and debutants Malawi.

“We are delighted to be back in Durban as we host the latest instalment of the COSAFA Beach Soccer Championship,” says COSAFA Executive Director Sue Destombes. “The growth of Beach Soccer in Africa and around the world has been steady over the last few years and a sign of the growing popularity of this version of football. As COSAFA, we are always seeking to help our members gain international exposure and grow all forms of the game in their territories, and this is another sign of that.

“We welcome our guest nations and are excited to have Saudi Arabia compete in a COSAFA event for the first time, exposing our own countries to a style of play from outside our continent.”

The teams will be drawn into two groups of four sides, with the top two advancing to the semifinals.

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 thus 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.

Mozambique added to the silver medal they won at the 2021 CAF Beach Soccer Cup of Nations which earned them a place at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Russia the same year.

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 CAF competition has been played sporadically since 2006, with Senegal winning seven of the 11 previous editions to go along with two wins for Nigeria and one each for Cameroon and Madagascar.