The kings of the continent are crowned in Africa as Senegal defeat Nigeria and hosts take third place
The Lions saw off the Eagles with six goals, while in the third place play-off, Egypt managed to hang on against a feisty Morocco to take bronze on home sand.
So, these two old rivals met once again. This final represents the very pinnacle of African beach soccer and today’s matchup didn’t disappoint.
Despite having lost to Senegal in the group stages, as well as in the last final of the CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations in 2016, it was Nigeria who started on the front foot.
Abu, the Nigerian talisman, wasted no time at all in laying his side’s claim to the African throne, netting with just seconds gone to give the Eagles an early lead. But Senegal were back at the men in green in a flash, as Diange found the space to get strike them back on level terms.
Then Diassy, who had been in electric form throughout the tournament, got his name on the scoresheet too, grabbing the lead for Senegal. The following period of play saw a tantalisingly close contest, with Senegal keeping their very slender lead intact and the score remained unchanged until the last period.
Going into the third period, the match was tense and tight. The grand prize was still anyone’s for the taking, even though Senegal had the slimmest of advantages. However, the Senegalese had an extra gear to shift into, and suddenly threw everything they had at the Nigerians, who had done well to keep pace with their opponents.
The boosted offensive began with Fall who increased the advantage to two goals when he saw the keeper, Paul, off his line to send the net rippling. Then Raoul controlled the ball, whilst holding off a defender, to swivel and shoot to make it four to Senegal.
He scored again moments later, twisting and turning away from two defenders to drive a low shot past Paul. It was now 1-5, and when Diange ran onto a lay off to power a first-time shot home to make it six with just a minute to go, the match was out of reach for Nigeria.
As the final whistle blew, the victory was decisive and the title was in the bag for a fourth time in five years. Having led after just a matter of seconds, Nigeria would have to settle for second place once again…and a place in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup of course.
The Senegalese celebrated with their signature acrobatics, ecstatic to be crowned kings of the continent once more.
Another well-battled African final showed everyone that we can expect great things from these two teams on the biggest stage of all…next stop – Paraguay!
Goals: 1-0: Abu, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Diange, min. 10 (1); 1-2: Diassy, min. 7 (1); 1-3: Fall, min. 8 (3); 1-4: Raoul, min. 6 (3); 1-5: Raoul, min. 4 (3); 1-6: Diange, min.1 (3);