The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Futsal Championship kicks off in Suva, Fiji on Sunday with seven nations competing for a place at the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Brazil in September.
The tournament is destined to have a new winner this year as New Caledonia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tuvalu and Vanuatu all compete for the championship which Australia has dominated since the tournaments conception.
Australia has won four titles in a row since 1992 with New Zealand and Fiji both earning runners up honours on two occasions, New Zealand in ‘92 and ‘04 and Fiji in ‘96 and ’99.
Australia left OFC on January 1, 2006 to join the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and their absence provides a pathway for another nation to represent Oceania at the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Brazil in September.
Australia was cast in the same group as world champions Brazil at the FIFA Futsal World Cup – Chinese Taipei 2004 and finished the group stage of the tournament without a win.
Futsal – an indoor form of football played with five players per side and a weighted ball – has become increasingly popular throughout countries in OFC and the lure of a FIFA World Cup and the absence of heavyweights Australia will make this tournament well received throughout all competing nations.
The OFC Futsal Championship kicks off on Sunday 8 June at 17H00 with the Solomon Islands entertaining New Zealand in the tournament opener.
The tournament follows a round robin format based on a league system and runs from Sunday 8 June through to Saturday 14 June.
All match results, news and photos can be found at www.oceaniafootball.com
Source : Oceania Football Confederation
Published : 6/6/2008