The national beach soccer team, the Black Sharks have finally departed Accra to Uganda for the final qualifier of the 2015 AFCON beach soccer tournament.
A contingent of eleven, made up of 8 players, the coach, his assistant and the protocol officer will arrive in the city of Entebbe for the biggest match in both countries’ relatively short beach soccer history.
It will be recalled that the Black Sharks of Ghana by virtue of breaking through the top ten of the African beach soccer rankings, were seeded to play against Cameroon and Uganda.
The Cameroonians withdrew, leaving Ghana and Uganda to contest for the AFCON slot.
The original contingent of 19 players and officials had to be pruned down to 11 due to lack of funds.
Meanwhile, those who had to be sacrificed for the Uganda trip were Beach Soccer Ghana President, the team coordinator, one media officer and five players including the second choice goalkeeper.
This is the second time in as many weeks that the Black Sharks have faced such difficulties.
The team was first assembled in 2013 for a tournament in Morocco but has since rapidly risen from 83rd on the FIFA rankings to 69th (February 2015). The Sharks are also rated as the 7th best beach soccer team on the continent.
Ironically Ghana does not enjoy the same support from their football association (GFA) as other countries like Senegal, Ivory Coast and Nigeria who are all largely funded by their respective associations.
The president of the GFA Mr. Kwasi Nyantakyi has explained that this is because Beach Soccer Ghana would first have to write to them for affiliation.
The Black Sharks will have only 2hrs preparation time when they land before their match with the Sand Cranes of Uganda in Entebbe.
The Sand Cranes have been in camp for over two months and are confident of causing an upset over their more experienced counterparts to qualify.
Ghana will host Uganda on Sunday the 22nd of March with the winner over the two legs qualifying for the maiden beach soccer AFCON, Seychelles 2015.