Harare – The odds are heavily stacked against them but an optimistic Angola believe they will tear apart the rule book.
The Southern Africans make their debut appearance at the Futsal World Cup in Lithuania this weekend with big dreams.
Besides being one of only two first-timers at the quadrennial showcase, Angola are also one of the lowest ranked of the 24 teams at the tournament.
All that means nothing to coach Rui Sampaio’s charges, who are inspired by stars Tonison Anibal and Teodero Vaz.
The tournament runs from September 12 to October 3 in the cities of Kaunas, Vilnas and Klaipeda, where Angola’s Group E will be based.
Angola are the only country from Southern Africa at the tournament which was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 crisis. African champions Morocco and Egypt are the other African teams at the World Cup.
Angola are pitted against powerhouses Spain and Japan, as well as Paraguay.
Sampaio’s men begin their mission with a date against Japan on September 14 at the Svyturys Arena before they take on Paraguay three days later. They wrap up their group stage proceedings against Spain on September 20.
Two group leaders and eight third-placed teams from each group will progress to the knock-out phase.
Angola have been conditioning themselves in the southern province of Huila over the past months, where the weather is more or less similar to that in Klaipeda.
Cosafa president Philip Chiyangwa has said he is confident that Angola will not disappoint.
Chiyangwa told The Southern Times Sport: “We are rallying behind Angola in the Futsal World Cup. We know they are capable of hoisting high the COSAFA flag. They might be making their very first appearance at this level of the game but we know they have the character and clout to fight well.
“These are our ambassadors from COSAFA. They have the full backing of the whole region. We know they have the arsenal to fight well and represent us well.”