Wairarapa is a breeding ground for some of this country’s most promising Futsal football talent.
That much is clear after the naming of a remarkable six players from this region in New Zealand age group sides to play in Australia in November this year and January 2010.
Jaden Rogers of Wairarapa College and Josh Logan of Masterton Intermediate have been included in the national 12-13yrs team to compete in Queensland in November.
And Ben Wilton (Wairarapa College), Arnon Tapp (Wairarapa College), Mitchell Ellicock (Rathkeale College) and Josh Cadwallader (Rathkeale College) have made the New Zealand 14yrs team to play in the Australian state and club championships in Sydney in January.
Futsal has become an increasingly popular form of football the world over.
It is played between two teams of five players, one of whom is the goalkeeper, and seven substitutes can be included on each side. Unlimited substitutions can be made during a match and substitutes can enter the fray even when the ball is in play.
Unlike some other forms of indoor football the game is staged on a hard court surface delimited by lines and walls or boards are not used. The ball is smaller and has less bounce than a regulation football.
Futsal rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces.
Ball control is particularly important. There is no reward for errant passes because the other team gets the ball. There is no reward for errant shots because again the other team gets the ball. There is no incentive to “kick and run” because the field is too small and packed with players,
Players with the ball must therefore use proper technique to maintain control and must seek out other players in space. Conversely, players without the ball must ensure they offer the closeness of support which enables accurate passes to be made.
Standard matches consist of two equal periods of 20 minutes although the length of either half is extended to allow penalty kicks to be taken, or a direct free kick to be taken against a team which has committed more than five fouls.
In the Wairarapa Futsal competition matches are currently played in age groups ranging from under-10s to under-19s on a weekly basis at either Makoura College or Clareville with 16 teams being involved.