Teams have arrived in the Egyptian city of Port Said ready for the start of the 2020 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball African Championships on Monday (2 March).
The competition is being shown live here.
Egypt are hoping that 2020 will see them return to the top of the podium. At the last regional Championships in Algiers, Algeria, in 2016, they lost out to the hosts in the final.
Despite this Mohammed Tolba, a young team captain at the age of 21, believes his side can challenge for tgold
“We worked a lot on our defense to reach our desired goals,” he said. “[We want] to win first place to raise Egypt’s flag.”
The Egyptian men are also the most successful African side in the history of the Paralympic Games with a silver and two bronze medals between 1984 and 1992.
But Algeria have taken Egypt’s crown as the premier goalball nation in the continent. Their men made their Paralympic debut in 1992 before returning in earnest in 2012 and 2016.
At the regional level Algeria dominated in 2016, going unbeaten before overcoming Egypt 7-2 in the final.
Morocco are another team to watch as the bronze medallists from last time around.
In the women’s, Algeria are also the reigning champions. Their gold from four years ago paved the way for their historic Paralympic debut at Rio 2016, becoming the first female team from Africa to compete.
Egypt experienced the same fate as their male teammates, losing to the Algerians in the final in Algiers.
Faten Gaber, the Egyptian team captain, is still optimistic: “We trained really hard to gain the strength that make us able to compete well.”
Morocco round off the women’s teams.
The 2020 IBSA Goalball African Championships run from 2-5 March. Updates and results will be available at the IBSA website and IBSA Goalball social media throughout.