Beach Soccer goalkeeper Joseph Luwemba dives to make a save during a competitive game at Lido Beach, Entebbe Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) confirmed that Uganda will not host the 2020 Afcon beach soccer tournament.

This was revealed on Tuesday, 30th June 2020 during the body’s Extra Ordinary Assembly, held via video conference in respect of the social distancing etiquette in the mitigation of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

Uganda Sand Cranes players in Dar es Salaam in 2019

Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) has since lamented having missed the golden opportunity to host such a tournament that was scheduled for December 2020.

FUFA Communications Director Ahmed Hussein Marsha largely attributed the bitter decision to the challenges resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic that has plugged the entire world since the start of the year.

FUFA wrote to CAF informing them of the challenges the country is facing due to COVID-19 as we have the AFCON Beach tournament later in December. It was a tough moment and decision done by FUFA. As you know between March and July, there were several activities that were supposed to be conducted by CAF but all these weren’t possible because they had to come here and make inspection on those activities that were lined up by the federation. Since all that was not possible and available, we had to take a decision as FUFA to withdraw from hosting the 2020 Beach Soccer tournament.

Ahmed Hussein Marsha, FUFA Communications Director
FUFA communications head, Ahmed Hussein Marsha (left)and the FUFA President Eng Moses Magogo during a previous press conference

Big Blow:

Ahmed tagged the moment as a big blow to the Uganda national beach soccer team (The Sand Cranes) as well as the Uganda Beach Soccer Association (UBSA).

He remains hopeful that yet another opportunity will be utilized and FUFA will wholesomely embrace it.

It is a big blow for the Sand Cranes who have put in a lot and  for the Uganda Beach Soccer Association as well as FUFA who had prepared much for the success of this tournament. We were going to learn a lot from hosting a big international tournament, bigger than CECAFA but we believe there will be another opportunity soon depending on how the institution welcomes it. We thank every stakeholder who played a huge role in getting the public sensitized and get to know about beach soccer and the tournament itself.

Ahmed Hussein Marsha, FUFA Communications Director
Spennah Beach Shoreline eaten away by the rising Lake Victoria

Many natural beach soccer facilities along the shores of Lake Victoria were reduced by size by the rising water levels because of the rains and release of water at the Jinja dam. This virtually left FUFA with options of off-shore beach soccer facilities such as FUFA Technical Center and a planned one at Namboole Stadium.

To make matters worse, the planned beach soccer facility at Kitubulu in Entebbe was not complete citing land wrangles raised by Entebbe Division A councilors in respect of the Lake Victoria shoreline.

Efforts to get another lake side facility at Aero beach were also slow.

Uganda Sand Cranes’ player Ronald Magwali in action during the 2019 Copa Dar es salaam against Syechelles.

Uganda has never participated in any final tournament of the AFCON Beach soccer championship.

The Sand Cranes were eliminated in the previous editions by West Africans Ivory Cote and Ghana.

Beach Soccer in Uganda became prominent in 2009.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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