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AFCON Futsal Semi-Finals: Teams Vie for World Cup Qualification and Continental Glory

AFCON Futsal Semi-Finals: Teams Vie for World Cup Qualification and Continental Glory

Futsal AFCON 2024 - Afrocritik

The semi-finals of the AFCON Futsal tournament will take place on Friday, April 19, 2024, at the Salle Moulay Abdellah in Rabat, Morocco.

By Tuka Letura 

The Futsal Africa Cup of Nations (Futsal AFCON) has concluded its group stages, with the semi-finals now set to determine which teams will earn a spot at the 2024 FIFA Futsal World Cup. The Futsal Africa Cup of Nations, formerly known as the African Futsal Championship, is the primary national Futsal tournament for African Football Confederation nations. Established in 1996, it is held every four years, and serves as a qualifier for the FIFA Futsal World Cup. In 2015, the tournament was renamed the Futsal Africa Cup of Nations by the CAF Executive Committee. Egypt leads with three titles, Morocco has won twice, and Libya once, making them the only three teams to have won the Cup since its inception.

This year, eight teams, Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Namibia, Ghana, Zambia, and Libya, made it to the group stages. Angola is competing for the fourth time, having previously finished in third place in 2020. Egypt, with seven appearances, has  won the tournament three times; in 1996, 2000, and 2004. 

Morocco, the host nation and defending champion, is participating for the sixth time, and will be looking to extend their wins to three consecutive Futsal AFCONs. Ghana is making their first appearance since 1996 when they finished as runners-up. For Zambia, this is their third time competing, having previously finished in fourth place in 2016. Libya, with five appearances and one championship win in 2008, also makes an appearance in this year’s tournament. Mauritania and Namibia are making their debut in the tournament, intending to make  a strong impression.

The group stages kicked off on Thursday, April 11 2024, with the Salle Moulay Abdellah and Salle Ibn Yassine in Rabat as venues for matches. 

Ghana against Zambia was the opening fixture in Group A and in the tournament. Despite an early lead by Ghana, Zambia turned the game around with a final score of 5–2. Emmanuel Nakotey and Philip Nii Boye scored for Ghana, but goals from Patrick Banda, Francis Chinyama, Wise Man Phiri, Mbalika Mwaliteta, and Jackson Simwami secured the win for Zambia. 

Later the same evening, Morocco faced off against Angola and secured a decisive 5–2 victory. Idriss El Fenni, Soufian Charraoui, and Anas El Ayyane led the Moroccan team with their impressive goals, while Hélber and Anderson contributed the goals for Angola.

Teams in group A took a break on Friday before action continued on Saturday with a clash between Zambia and Angola. Although Zambia managed to score five goals through Banda, Phiri, and Chinyama, Angola’s attack proved too much as they secured an 8–5 win. Francisco Pemba Gabriel scored a hat trick, Anderson Fortes and Joâo Cambangula each scored a goal, while Helber Garcia scored in the eighth goal. 

The host started their game against Ghana with intent, as Youssef Jouad scored just 15 seconds into the match with a smooth side-footed finish. Morocco continued to dominate the game, with captain Soufiane El Mesrar extending their lead just two minutes later, delivering  a powerful left-footed shot from outside the penalty area.

Ghana managed to respond through Prince Arthur, who scored a goal six minutes later with a deflected set piece. Despite this, Morocco regained their two-goal advantage when Soufiane Charraoui netted a beautiful goal, giving the Atlas Lions control of the match. 

Futsal AFCON Cup - 2024 - Afrocritik

Philip Nii Boye got a brace for himself as Ghana finished the game with three goals, but would be five shy of Morroco’s total which saw the game finish 8-3 in favour of the host.

The final Group A matches were played on April 15, where Angola achieved a commanding 11–3 victory over Ghana. Braúlio Fontoura and Francisco Pemba Gabriel both scored hat-tricks for Angola, contributing to their impressive goal tally. Meanwhile, Ghana managed to find the back of the net with goals from Nakotey and Arthur. This was the first time a team conceded 11 times at the Futsal AFCON since 2004.

The biggest scoreline was yet to come, as later that evening, Morocco posted a bigger score against Zambia, winning 13–0. The Moroccan team showed exceptional offensive play, with El Mesrar, Bakkali, Amazal, Charraoui, Raiss El Fenni, El Ayyane, Elidrissi, and Dahani all contributing to the scoreline. This is the biggest scoreline in the history of the Futsal AFCON.

Morroco finished top of Group A, with Angola in second place, and both advancing to the semi-finals. 

group A table scaled

In group B, the action began on April 12, with Egypt handing a 4–0 defeat to Libya. Mohamed Abd Elhamed popularly known as Koki led the charge with two goals, while Mohamed Said and Alaa Eissa added to the scoreline to secure the win for Egypt.

In the second match on the same day, Mauritania faced Namibia and won with a close 5–4 scoreline. Mauritania Abderheman Bouhoumadi, Yakhouba Sylla, Moudery Drame, and  M’Hamed M’Hamed contributed to the victory, while Namibia’s Ken Salote, Remario Mathys, and George Haikali would fall short and confirm their defeat. 

On April 14, the competition continued with Egypt beating Namibia 10–3. Koki was back on the scoresheet, finding the back of the net twice and so was Ahmed Aly who scored a hat-trick in Egypt’s second win of the tournament. 

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Libya narrowly defeated Mauritania 5–4 in the second game of the day. Shoshan’s hat trick, along with goals from Mohamed Said and Mohamed Zreeg, secured the win for Libya.

The final round of group games took place on the evening of April 16, with Mauritania narrowly losing to Egypt in a close match with a final score of 7-6. In yet another massive victory, Libya beat Namibia 11-5 to book the final spot of four in the semi-finals. 

group B table scaled

Uzbekistan 2024 Qualification

Progressing to the semi-finals brings the teams one step closer to qualifying for the Futsal World Cup in Uzbekistan.

As in past years, the tournament serves as the African qualifying event for the FIFA Futsal World Cup. This means the best African teams compete to earn a spot in the World Cup. However, 2012 was an exception, there was a separate qualifying event because the 2011 African Futsal Championship was cancelled so the normal tournament couldn’t be used. 

Things are back to normal now,and the tournament will determine which three teams will represent the Confederation of African Football (CAF) at the 2024 FIFA Futsal World Cup event. Those three teams will be the teams that can find at least one win for the rest of the  tournament. Specifically, the teams that win their semi-final matches will automatically advance to the World Cup, securing their places as two of the top teams in the tournament. The third team to pick up a World Cup qualification ticket will be the team that wins the third-place game, which is a match between the two losing semi-finalists.

The semi-finals of the AFCON Futsal tournament will take place on Friday, April 19, 2024, at the Salle Moulay Abdellah in Rabat, Morocco. Libya is up against Morocco in the first semi-final at 17:00 GMT. Later in the evening, at 20:00 GMT, Egypt will face Angola at the same venue. Winners qualify for the 2024 FIFA Futsal World Cup.

Tuka Letura is an experienced sports writer with over five years of experience in the craft. He uses data and statistics to provide analysis and commentary. From regional to worldwide competitions, he has covered a wide range of sports-related events and topics. He is devoted to sharing his enthusiasm for sports with his audience and engaging them with interesting anecdotes and viewpoints.

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