By MICHAEL MIYOBA
THE Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) has confirmed that the 2024 Africa Futsal Cup of Nations qualifiers will be played in December this year.
According to a statement from the global football governing body, the 2024 Futsal Africa Cup which will act as qualifier for the 2024 Futsal World Cup will be played between January 29 to February 11 in Mozambique.
The qualifiers return on December 11 and will run up to December 20, 2023 and will be played on home and away basis. The draws will be conducted later this month.
The top three teams at the Futsal Africa Cup of Nations will qualify for the tenth edition of the FIFA Futsal World Cup, the quadrennial international futsal championship contested by the men’s national teams of the member associations of FIFA.
The tournament will be held in Uzbekistan. It will be the first FIFA tournament ever hosted by Uzbekistan, the first FIFA tournament to be ever hosted in Central Asia and the fourth Futsal World Cup hosted in Asia; the others being 1992 in Hong Kong, 2004 in Taiwan and 2012 in Thailand.
Zambia will be aiming to make a second appearance at the Africa Cup after missing the last edition which was scooped by North African giants Morocco.
Zambia’s last appearance at the Futsal Africa Cup of Nations was in 2016 when they punched above their weight to finish the competition on fourth position after losing the third and fourth play off to Mozambique who were fortunate to pick a 2-1 penalty shootout victory after a 5-5 stalemate.
Meanwhile, national Futsal team coach Andrea Cristoforetti says the team will regroup this month to begin preparations for the championship in Italy and the AFCON qualifiers scheduled for December 2023.
The national Futsal team has also been invited for an international Futsal championship slated for September 18 in the City of L’Aquila in Italy.