The Copa Lagos Beach Soccer tournament gets underway today in Nigeria with four teams battling it out for the title.
Host nation Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil and England are all competing at this tournament and Nigeria will be fancying their chances on home sand.
Here is a quick look at all the teams competing at Copa Lagos:
In the first round of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2006, Nigeria lost in the group phase, but in 2007 they returned to the World stage as African champions and reached the last eight. Unfortunately, the Eagles failed to participate in the Marseille 2008.
In 2009 they came back to participate in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup held in Dubai. The qualifying competition held in Durban allowed them to hold again the title of African Champions with a 7-4 win in the final against Côte d'Ivoire.
Although they had a very promising tournament ahead, the Nigerian National team did not pass the group stage in Dubai. Regrettably, they had the difficult task of qualifying in group D, which was composed by the two finalists of this edition, Brazil and Switzerland. Nonetheless, despite losing against two of the best teams in the world, the last match of the Group Stage was very satisfying, with a 9-3 victory over Bahrain.
For the Copa Lagos Beach Soccer, Nigeria will play at home and will have the full support of their fans. Their experience, fans support, status and continues improvement set them as a possible title winners. "The Sand Eagles" will have to prove all this arguments on the beach sands of beautiful Lagos.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts were the first African team to participate in a Beach Soccer Worldwide official international tournament. The South African Beach Soccer National team played the Beach Soccer World Championship in 1999 in Brazil.
The "Beach Bafana Bafana" were also the first African Nation to play in a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, that as well took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2005. The South Africans were the only CAF representatives and lost both matches of the Group stage, living them out of the final round. Despite the unsuccessful participation, they opened the doors of Beach Soccer to Africa.
This competition will allow the "Beach Bafana Bafana" to show that they are still alive and willing to win back the reputation they deserve.
The Brazilian Beach Soccer Team have been professional since 1993. With their natural ability to dribble, have fun and dance with the ball, the Brazilian National team unsurprisingly became the best team in the World. With many goals, ability, spectacular plays, Brazil conquered almost 50 international titles and won the last four FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups in a row.
The Brazilian national team is used to win in beaches around the world, so their great amount of titles and awards will definitely set them up as a natural title challenger in Copa Lagos Beach Soccer.
Football Star players like Júnior, Edinho, Zico, Cláudio Adão, Romário, Paulo Sérgio and Roberto Dinamite, among others have worn the Brazilian Beach Soccer shirt.
Beach Soccer in England is growing rapidly. Over 40,000 people attended Beach Soccer events last summer. In 2006, England competed in the EBSL, drawing in Group B alongside Poland, Austria and Greece. During that campaign, England went on to win three games.
In late 2007 Luke Kerr, already an England coach, stepped up as Head Coach to help develop and lead the team into the last 16 phase at the 2008 FIFA world cup qualifiers in Spain were they eventually lost to former BSWW European Cup winners Ukraine.
In April 2010 Terry Bowes took charge in his first tournament as Head Coach in the Betclic Spring Cup in Viseu, Portugal. England put in three sterling performances against top ranked European opposition which consisted of hosts Portugal (losing 3-0), 2009 World Cup Runners Up Switzerland (losing 4-2) and current European Champions Russia (losing 4-2), which brought high praise from their opponents.
To watch the Copa Lagos Beach Soccer follow these simple steps:
- Go to Bet365 and sign-in
- Select Live Streaming > Beach Soccer
- Watch Copa Lagos Live