Sand Cranes to Play Senegal in Beach Soccer Afcon Opening Match

The Uganda national Beach Soccer team, Sand Cranes will today face champions Senegal in the opening game at the Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2022 at Arena Vilankulo, Mozambique.   

It is a tough fixture for the Sand Cranes, facing Senegal which is the defending champions of the tournament after they defeated Mozambique 4-1 in the final last year for a third successive time.  

It will be a familiar fixture for Uganda having met Senegal in their 2021 Beach Soccer AFCON opening tie that they lost 5-1. Group A has Mozambique, Malawi, Nigeria, and Morocco.  

During the just concluded Hollywood bets Cosafa Beach soccer tournament where Uganda participated to prepare for AFCON, the Sand Cranes still lost to Senegal 10-3 in the first semi-final of the tournament in Durban South Africa.   

Speaking ahead of the clash team captain Baker Lukooya could not shy away from expressing the respect his side has for the defending champions, however, he says that they have had enough time to learn from some of their past mistakes. 

“Our team is good with no injuries, our first opponent in Senegal, we respect them because it is the team that eliminated us from the COSAFA tournament but we have also prepared ourselves, we have made a serious revision, looking at some of the mistakes we did in that game and I believe we are ready”, Baker Lukooya said.

Prior to the AFCON, FUFA President Moses Magogo announced former Switzerland National Angelo Schirinzi as the new Uganda Sand Cranes head coach.

Although the Sand Cranes had previously qualified for the continent’s largest Beach soccer tournament, Magogo said that the team lacked a technical approach to the game that would put them at a disadvantage against the continent’s giants, which coach Schirinzi possesses.

In a tournament that attracted seven teams, Sand Cranes is in group B alongside Senegal, Madagascar, and Egypt. The Sand Cranes qualified for the Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations 2022 after seeing off Comoros 9-5 on aggregate.

The Sand Cranes, who are currently ranked fifth in Africa and 36th globally by Beach Soccer Worldwide, are hoping to build on their previous success and, at the very least, win a medal this time around. Uganda finished fourth in the most recent edition, which Senegal hosted, after losing to Mozambique in the semifinals and then to Morocco in the playoffs.

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