The Fifa World Cup is just nine days away, but Marlburians have an early opportunity to play out international football rivalries when Marlborough Lines Stadium hosts the inaugural Marlborough World Cup Warm-up Futsal Tournament on Monday.
The Marlborough Sports Academy and the Marlborough Migrant Centre are on the lookout for local footballers of all nationalities to form teams for the tournament that promises to showcase national pride and local football talent.
Futsal is the Fifa-recognised version of indoor football and will be played with five-a-side teams in 20-minute matches.
Tournament organiser Gareth Archer said several teams had already signed up with a Brazilian, English, “All Whites” and two Fijian sides already in the mix and displaying plenty of passion.
“We’re going to smash everyone.
“We’ve been training already and everyone’s looking good, We’re no joke,” Brazilian captain Marcelo Lopes said.
However, futsal All Whites skipper Clay Wilhelmus wasn’t backing down to the fancy South American talking or footwork.
“These Brazilian boys think they’re hot stuff, but some good hard shots – all perfectly legal of course – will slow them down.
“You can’t score many goals if you don’t have the ball.”
Archer said the tournament was aimed at both competitive and social players and encouraged footballers of any ability to sign up to play or come down and support their teams.
He encouraged teams to get dressed up in their national colours and bring flags or banners.
Archer said while the aim was to have teams of one nationality, some “ring ins” would be allowed, though they may be asked to demonstrate their accents on the microphone.
A public address system with music and commentary would add to the atmosphere, while there would be plenty of competitions for prizes from sponsors Stirling Sports and Subway. “There is so much buzz around football at the moment with the World Cup just around the corner, we can’t all be in South Africa so we thought `why not re-create some of that atmosphere here in Blenheim?”‘ Archer said.
The tournament kicks off at 10am with Mayor Alistair Sowman on hand to present the winning team with their prize after the 3pm final.
For more information or to register a team contact Gareth Archer on 5775190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.