14 April 2023 – The SAFA Gaming national team jetted off to Dubai on Thursday (13 April 2023) to play in the first round of the FIFAe Nations Online Qualifiers 2023.
The competition is part of the global FIFAe Nations Series 2023 where FIFA Member Associations select their national teams to qualify for the global finals in June this year.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) has been participating since 2019.
Led by SAFA eCup champion Zaid April, the team has a mix of youth and experience in Thabo Moloi, Kaylan Moodley and Julio Bianchi, who finished top. South Africa’s FIFA23 talent will be on display against the best in the Africa-Middle East region.
There are 11 nations taking part in the tournament and they are divided into two groups – Group A has six teams while Group B has five.
The African continent has five representatives – South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, and Ghana – and they will play in the two-group qualifications rounds.
Six winners from this phase will qualify for the FIFAe Nations Play-offs next month (May 2023), joining the highly rated Saudi Arabia and UAE to make the final eight, which will determine the three nations from Zone 3 to book their tickets to the global finals in June 2023 as part of the best 24 teams in the world.
The winner here will be crowned FIFAe Nations World Champion.
“We have been on this journey and narrowly missed out of qualification before and this time we have one goal, to take South Africa to the global stage and show what we are made of. Our pairings have played with each other for FIFAe eClubs 2023 as well, which gives us confidence of making the play-offs,” said Africa’s No.1, Moodley.
“The team is made up of worthy gaming athletes who finished in the top four at the SAFA eCup last month. We believe that the more we do well in all international competitions, the more it will play a role in inspiring the youth and create more diverse opportunities for football enthusiasts. We wish the team well in the first round of qualifiers, and beyond,” said SAFA CEO Adv. Tebogo Motlanthe.
Group A FIXTURES:
14, 15, 16 April 2023:
20h00 = South Africa vs Ghana
20h30 = Bahrain vs South Africa
21h00 = South Africa vs Palestine
21h40 = South Africa vs Egypt
22h10 = Morocco vs South Africa
The Knockout round is on Sunday, 16th April 2023.
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