For their second consecutive appearance at the Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations, Tanzania are eyeing a place in the semi-finals of the competition scheduled for Senegal in less than a month. National team coach Boniface Pawasa is certain of his side's success.
The draw for the Beach Soccer AFCON, Senegal 2021 which took place this Thursday in Cairo revealed the groups of the final tournament scheduled from 23 to 29 May 2021 in the city of Saly, Senegal.
Tanzania, who finished seventh in Egypt 2018, is preparing with better ambitions, and they were drawn in group A besides hosts and powerhouse Senegal, and debutants Uganda and DR Congo.
"We will do our best to reach the semi-final," Pawasa said after the draw. "If there is a team that could pose threat in this tournament, it would definitely be Senegal. They are one of the strongest teams in the continent, if not the best team."
But the possibilities remain open in this group. "We are ready for all the teams. It is a challenge that we accept. I fully respect all the teams and I am sure we will achieve our goals."
Pawasa added that the tournament is a chance to look at Beach Soccer in Africa.
"We need to set up a strategic youth development program. This will give us effective weapons to succeed in our mission. We need to think about how to produce more instructors, coaches and referees so that Beach Soccer can spread across the continent.
"In Africa, we have the weapons; we have strong players but being strong is not enough.
"We have to give these players the chance and I think now is the time to introduce an Under-20 Beach Soccer competition. Now is also the time to kick off a club championship with eight teams as a start," he added.
Since the first edition in 2015, the Beach Soccer AFCON has brought together the top eight teams in the continent. This fourth edition was marked by many withdrawals during the qualifiers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Our challenge in Beach Soccer is that it's not as popular as football in Africa. So, we have to sit down and come up with a strategic plan that should be based on a development agenda", he concluded.