Auckland Rio 11s stormed to victory at last week’s annual Football Federation Australia Futsal National Championships, beating ACT Cobras 4-2 in a thrilling final at the Mpowerdome in Canberra on Friday.
The tournament, which is Australia’s largest football event, features over 1500 junior, youth and senior male and female state players, as well as teams from Auckland and Solomon Islands.
Five Auckland teams took part in the week long tournament, but it was the youthful team of 1999-born players lead by Robert Tipelu who provided the major highlight for the Aucklanders.
A hat-trick from man of the match Ahmed Mohammadi was the main feature of a rollercoaster final – with victory coming on the back of four days of hard fought futsal against the more experienced Australian state sides.
Auckland Futsal CEO Craig Empson was delighted with Rio’s achievement and pointed out the magnitude of the young team’s victory.
“The boys faced highly technical, highly experienced players in every game. To go nine games unbeaten and win the final with two stunning goals in the final three minutes is a huge achievement and a massive boost for futsal in New Zealand.”
Empson was also quick to pay tribute to way all five Auckland teams stuck to the Brazilian style of futsal they have learned from coaches Rafael and Felipe.
“All the players learned so much at the tournament and they played some fantastic futsal – particularly in the latter stages as they grew in confidence”, said Empson. For us, it was confirmation that our style of futsal, which promotes flair and creativity at all times, can be successful at this high level, when the pressure is on.”
“And while there were some outstanding goals and individual performances from our players, what also shone through was team spirit of the whole Auckland contingent, the players and their families. We all can’t wait for next year”, he said.
Full results from the FFA Futsal National can be viewed at http://www.futsalnationals.com.au/draws/draws.htm
Auckland Rio 11 Boys – 1 Nick MILNER, 2 Robert TIPELU, 4 Ahamed MOHAMMADI, 5 Nani JUSUFI, 6 Jack VAUGHAN, 7 Conor SHIMODA, 8 Leon VAN DEN HOVEN, 9 Ethan AMEY.
v Victoria Magic Drew 5-5
v Northern NSW Won 6-2
v Western NSW Won 6-3
v NSW Lightning Drew 2-2
v ACT Cobras Won 5-2
v Queensland Won 6-2
QF v Southern NSW Won 8-1
SF v NSW Lightning Won 2-1
Final v ACT Cobras Won 4-2
Auckland Sampa 11 Boys – 1 Anton MOORE, 3 Rory KELLY, 4 Jacob HOLMES, 6 Amanpreet BAINS, 7 Jack KELLY, 8 Andre MUNRO-WILSON, 9 Matthew HARLAND.
Auckland Rio 13 Boys – 1 Mitchell BRADLEY, 2 Ermal FUSHA, 4 Orlando KWOK-CAMERON, 6 Jimmy TOOHEY, 7 Oscar RAMSEY, 8 Jake PORTER, 9 Isaac MOFFAT-YOUNG.
Auckland Sampa 13 Boys – 1 Jono WESTON, 3 Reese COX, 4 Sean CLARK, 6 Dylan BURNS, 7 Phillip PAUL, 8 Harry BELL, 9 Lance MEREFU.
Auckland 14 Girls – 1 Danielle BRADLEY, 2 Catherine CLARK, 3 Libby TWISS, 5 Mary PHIPPS, 6 Sophie NATHAN, 8 Kate CRICHTON, 9 Chloe OCKLESTON.