Soccer News of Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Source: Sammy Heywood Okine

Qualifiers for FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2013

…Ghana gets ready for African Preliminaries in Morocco

Preparations are advanced for the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and the interest of the game has resulted in more countries including Ghana to participate.

Tahiti is the host nation and so far some confederations have played their qualifiers. Here are the qualifiers and upcoming matches.

AFC - The AFC qualifiers for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013 were played from 22-26 January 2013 in Doha. Iran won the qualifying tournament, with Japan qualifying as runners up. United Arab Emirates came third to claim the final berth for Tahiti 2013.

CAF - The CAF qualifiers will take place 22 to 26 May in El Jadida, Morocco. The winner and runner-up of the competition will qualify for Tahiti 2013. Ghana wants to play in the qualifiers for the first time.

UEFA - European qualifying for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013 took place in Moscow from 1 - 8 July 2012. Spain, Russia, Ukraine and the Netherlands qualified after reaching the semi-finals of the qualifying tournament.

CONCACAF - The CONCACAF qualifiers will be played in Nassau, Bahamas from 8-12 May 2013. The Bahamas will be the first Caribbean nation to host FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifying. The winner and runner-up of the competition will qualify for Tahiti 2013.

OFC - The OFC qualifiers will be played in August 2013 in Papeete, Tahiti. As hosts, Tahiti has already qualified and the top team from this competition will join them at Tahiti 2013.

CONMEBOL - The CONMEBOL qualifiers were played in Merlo (San Luis), Argentina from 10 to 17 February 2013. Argentina defeated Paraguay in the final, with Brazil winning the third-place match to claim CONMEBOL's final berth.

The Ghana Beach Soccer Association (GBSA) in collaboration with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) are making efforts to build a formidable team to represent Ghana.

The players would be selected from the leagues currently going on at the La Pleasure Beach Soccer grounds. CAL Bank sponsors the Championship which has ten teams namely; Keta Sun Set, Ada Assurance, La Wuo Gbe, Layoca, Tegbei Youth, Havedzi, Nungua, Teshie, East Legon Sharks and Dansoman.

The exciting Division One League dubbed the Big League has clubs like Chorkor Blue Whales, Gulf Powers, Senya Bereku Sharks, Winneba Giants, Golden Eagles, Nima, African Angels, Tema and Osu Dolphins. Though this league has no sponsor, making it difficult for clubs to compete regularly and fairly, the teams have displayed wonderful beach soccer artistry and the ability to play under the hot sun and hot sand.

FIFA was able to organize a coaching course for the top five clubs in both the Championship and Big League and those who participated were really impressed with the programme. They immediately formed a Beach Soccer Coaches Association appointing hard working technical men like Maxwell Kpeglo, Sammy Heywood Okine, Theo Armah and Johnny Hermans to plan and organize the game all over the nation.

The first round of the second Beach Soccer League in Ghana has ended and May 11, 2013 has been fixed for the beginning of the second round which promises to be keen due to the fact that players who excel would be selected to play for the national team.

The Ghana Beach Soccer League has improved tremendously after the coaching course held by Talib Hilal from Oman and teams that were not doing well in the first season have come up. In the Championship, Ada Assurance has raised their game, whilst the Big League has seen the improvement of Nima. Teams to be watched out for in the second round of the second season include the sensational Chorkor Blue Whales, Keta SunSet, Teshie, Layoca and Dansoman.

Yaw Ampofo Ankrah, President of the GBSA wishes that more beach soccer fans will troop to the La Beach to watch the games and invite tourists to see the skills of the players on the sun and sand.