Futsal players on the radar of Hawkes Bay United soccer coach
Hawke’s Bay United soccer coach Matt Chandler has returned from Fiji with a shopping list for this summer.
Chandler, who returned from Suva at the weekend after coaching the New Zealand team at the OFC Futsal Championship last week, told SportToday two New Zealand futsal players, Marvin Eakins and Brazilian Lucas Silva, were on his list for the summer league.
“I’m also keen on two boys from the Solomons and a Fijian boy too,” said Chandler, who described the Suva tournament as fantastic and where he always intended to talent scout for the Bay franchise.
The players will undergo trials for a week before the franchise offers any contracts.
“Lucas has a good left-footed boot and Marvin is the captain of the futsal team,” he said, happy the Brazilian was a Kiwi and wouldn’t put any pressure on the overseas team quota of four signings.
Chandler said he was still in the recruiting process, having spoken to Napier City Rovers player and former All White striker Jarrod Smith, as well as a few Central League players from Auckland.
“We’ll still have a nucleus of players from last season who are fit and raring to go.”
It is understood New Zealand Football is restructuring the New Zealand Football Championship which will be renamed the National League and played under a new format.
Chandler said the Bay franchise had a quota for five academy players in the squad and two of them would always have to be on the team card for each game.
The National Youth league, he said, would enable some of them to keep match fit because, this season, two over-age players could also play.
“Someone like Shaun Peta, who is only a year older than the Youth League age, can play and that’s quite beneficial for the coach too.”
Chandler was aware of Central League side Wairarapa United’s run in with the Immigration Department regarding import players.
“We want to try to get our players to stay here,” he said, after Wairarapa coach Phil Keinzley discovered he could have a different import each year, not one for several amid claims of new rules.
“We don’t want them to be one-year wonders but become residents of Hawke’s Bay.”
Chandler said bar “a few small changes”, his staff for the summer would stay when he negotiates his contract by the end of this week.
It blew him away to find out at the weekend that the Solomon Islands Government had declared a two-day public holiday after the national futsal team won the championship in Suva undefeated.
Fiji finished runners-up and New Zealand was third on goal difference.
“”About 3000 people watched the tournament at the national gymnasium and Fiji were offered $10,000 to win,” Chandler said.