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The draw for the seventh edition of the Arab Futsal Cup was held on Tuesday in Jeddah ahead of the tournament taking place in the Kingdom from June 6-16.
(The draw for the seventh edition of the Arab Futsal Cup was held on Tuesday in Jeddah ahead of the tournament taking place in the Kingdom from June 6-16 – Supplied/SAFF)
Alongside hosts Saudi Arabia, the first group will pit Algeria, Libya, and Sudan against each other. In the second group, current holders Morocco were drawn with Comoros, Kuwait, and Lebanon, while Egypt, Mauritania, Palestine, and Iraq make up the third group.
The competition is being organized by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and will be held in the Ministry of Sports Hall at Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah. Egypt, Morocco, and Libya have won two titles each in previous editions, with the first being hosted in Cairo in 1998.
It will be the second time the competition has been hosted in Saudi Arabia, with the previous edition taking place in Dammam last year.
In 2022, Morocco’s futsal team handily beat Iraq in the final of the 6th Arab Futsal Cup, clenching a 3-0 victory. The well-deserved victory followed the team’s outstanding overall performance in the tournament with an undefeated record during the group stage.
Under the leadership of the Moroccan coach Hicham Dguig, the Atlas Lions continued their dominating performance by beating Libya 3-0 in the quarterfinals before defeating Egypt 5-2 in the semis. During the competition, the Atlas Lions scored 46 goals and conceded 6.
King Mohammed VI also sent a congratulatory message to the futsal team for their victory. The Atlas Lions retained their title of Arab champions, after securing the title in 2020 by beating Egypt’s Pharaohs (4-0), and will be hoping to win their third competition this year, making it three consecutive victories, and the most titles won amongst their peers.
Moroccan player Abdelatif Fati scored the first goal during the first half of the game. Iraqi player Rhait then scored an own goal five minutes from the end of the second half before Yousseg Jawad scored the Atlas Lions’ third goal in the final seconds of the match.
Morocco’s Anas El Ayane was named man of the match and Soufiane El Mesrar was elected best player of the tournament.
In a statement to the press after the game, coach Dguig said that he “dedicated the titles to King Mohammed VI for the support he gives to the national sport and Moroccan athletes.”
The latest statistics from the Futsal World Ranking show that Morocco now ranks first in African futsal, followed by Egypt, Libya, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Algeria, and Somalia.
Outside of the Arab Cup, Deguig’s squad has previously demonstrated its talent by winning the AFCON Futsal tournament twice. The Moroccan team came out victorious in both 2016 and 2020 and in the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup, they became the first African nation to reach the Quarter-Finals.
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