Morocco vs. Seychelles - Battle on sand

General view Seychelles Training ahead of the 2021 Beach Soccer African Cup of Nations in Thies, Saly in Senegal on 22 May 2021 © Alain SuffoBackpagePix (2)

The second meeting of Sunday 23 May will pit Morocco against Seychelles. At first glance, one thinks of a battle between David and Goliath, but the match should be taken seriously with opponents eager to make a good impression.

The meeting will start at 4:15 p.m. (local / GMT).

Asked by CAFOnline.com on the eve of the tournament kick-off, here's what the game's two coaches said.

General view Seychelles Training ahead of the 2021 Beach Soccer African Cup of Nations in Thies, Saly in Senegal on 22 May 2021 © Alain SuffoBackpagePix

Don Anacora, Pirates of Seychelles Coach

“We're a small country so in this competition our goal is to go as far as possible and get more experience. It is also about providing a platform for our players and especially these young people who make up the bulk of our squad and use it for the future.

“There is a marked improvement in beach soccer in our country, but we are currently facing the difficulties of COVID-19. The country is virtually confined, and training has not been able to go as planned.

“The goal of this competition is therefore to assess the determination of the players much more.

“Competing in a competition like this, no team should be taken lightly. The opponents of this group or the other are to be taken into consideration. So, it doesn't make any difference for us since we are a young team. We just have to give the best.”

Morocco BS temporary

Mustapha El Hadaoui, coach of the Atlas Lions of Morocco

“We have been waiting for this moment for several years. We often arrive in the semi-finals and we even lose the third-place match. In terms of international competitions, we are second in the FIFA African rankings behind Senegal, leader in beach soccer, and 17th in the world. It bodes well for qualifying and making the final. Then we will see what will happen in the final.

“We put all the assets on our side. In Morocco, there is no league and there are players we are trying to recruit in street football. When they thrive with us, we put them in normal or futsal clubs, so that they have a decent standard of living.

“The FRMF is trying to develop with me, because of my FIFA Beach Soccer instructor status, an elite championship to have more players and to take over.

“Senegal has a championship. Last month we came to make three friendlies, the third we played in raising the curtain of their championship final. They have a lot of players. Even if they play on the sand and without regulation, afterwards it's easier to instill that in them. They are spoiled for choice, but for us it is a bit restrictive.

“Against Egypt it is always very close matches. They have futsal players and amateur clubs but depending on the preparation they are either better than us or we are better than them. We must remember that we came to finish first in the group and avoid Senegal.”