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  • Samson Omale

Tough Draws For African Trio At Futsal World Cup

Africa's trio of representatives at the upcoming FIFA Futsal World Cup in Uzbekistan have been handed challenging groups for the 24-team tournament.



Morocco, Libya and Angola discovered their first round fates at the official draw held in the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Registan Square in Samarkand on Sunday night.

Morocco will face defending champions Portugal, as well as Panama and hosts Tajikistan, in a daunting Group E assignment.


The North Africans can take some solace in avoiding the likes of futsal heavyweights Brazil, Spain and Argentina in the opening stage, but negotiating a way past the Portuguese will still represent a major obstacle.


Libya, meanwhile, must overcome the might of Spain – who have won the last two editions in 2016 and 2020 – as well as Kazakhstan and debutants New Zealand if they are to progress from Group D.


Angola, making their third World Cup appearance, find themselves pitted against record five-time champions Argentina, dark horses Ukraine and another newcomer in the form of Afghanistan in Group C.


The draw threw up several other intriguing groups, with hosts Uzbekistan joined by the Netherlands, Paraguay and Costa Rica in Group A.


Brazil will face Cuba, Croatia and the fast-emerging Thailand in Group B, while Iran, Venezuela, Guatemala and France make up Group F.


For the African sides, a huge test awaits if they are to advance to the knockout stages and build on the continent's best-ever showing of reaching the quarter-finals, achieved by Egypt in 2016.


All eyes will be on Morocco's Lions, currently ranked 14th in the world, to lead the way for African futsal and pull off an against-the-odds run deep into the latter stages.


The tournament kicks off on September 14, with the final taking place a fortnight later on September 28 in the capital Tashkent.


Groups


Group A: Uzbekistan, Netherlands, Paraguay, Costa Rica 

Group B: Brazil, Cuba, Croatia, Thailand 

Group C: Argentina, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Angola 

Group D: Spain, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Libya 

Group E: Portugal, Panama, Tajikistan, Morocco 

Group F: IR Iran, Venezuela, Guatemala, France

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