AUCKLAND – The inaugural NZ Football Futsal National League reaches its conclusion this weekend at ASB Stadium in Kohimarama, Auckland, with only Australian guests Maccabi Hakoah certain to qualify for the semi finals on Sunday afternoon.
Maccabi have set the pace in the league and are unbeaten after the first two series. Star players Doron Pozniak, Denny Dutra and Daniel Fulton have been in red hot form, as has runaway golden boot leader, eighteen year old flanker Jarrod Basger (13 goals).
With NSW state player Jordan Mundell and experienced Futsalroo Simon Keith also on deck, the Australians are a tough proposition for their New Zealand counterparts. An injury to target Slava Platkov has been the only setback to Maccabi thus far, but there is plenty of depth in the squad to provide cover to a side currently ten points clear at the top of the table.
Hosts East City’s campaign started to gather momentum in Series Two at Dunedin’s Edgar Centre, where they cracked home 25 goals in five games. Miro Major and recent futsal convert Jakub Sinkora have both stamped their class on the league and with a host of current and ex-Futsal Whites (Nathan Robertson, Bakr Al-Saudi, Andrew Gwilliam, James Hart, Dylan Manickum, Elias Billeh and Clayton Chappell) in the squad, the Aucklanders will fancy their chances on their home court.
The enigmatic Capital City Futsal side entertained with some captivating futsal on their home court in Series One, only to lose ground throughout most of the February series in Dunedin. A 6-0 thrashing of Football South Futsal in their final game got Brian Blellock’s men back on track and ensured them of a spot in the semi finals. With Futsal White target Said Soleimanpour (4 goals) in good form, and young pivot Taiki Davey showing plenty of promise, Capital have as good a chance as any New Zealand side of upsetting the rampant Maccabi.
Manawatu Red Sox were the big improvers in Series Two, with the pace and finishing of newly recruited front-men Greg O’Connor (4 goals) and Nathaniel Wright (6 goals) proving a handful for all their opponents. Two wins in Auckland should ensure a semi-final spot for Murray Burling’s team, who currently sit five points clear of Football South Futsal.
After an excellent debut in Series One, Football South Futsal had a disastrous series on their home court and will need at least three wins in Auckland to stay in touch with Red Sox. With five series goals, flanker Darren Hart has been the southerners’ top performer.
The youthful Christchurch Futsal side, led by Chilean pivot Jorge Donoso, were a much improved outfit in Dunedin and though unlikely contenders for a semi-final spot, will look to build towards the next National League later in 2011.
Series Three is also the final opportunity for New Zealand based players to show their credentials in front of Futsal Whites Head Coach Matt Chandler. The Futsal Whites training squad for the 2011 OFC FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament will be announced shortly after the conclusion of the final series.
NZ Football Futsal National League 2010/11 SERIES 3 INCLUDING FINALS
5-6 March 2011
ASB Stadium, Kohimarama, Auckland – hosted by East City
Games will be streamed live on www.nzfootball.co.nz
Sat 5 March
8.00am Christchurch Futsal v East City (Auckland)
9.00am Football South Futsal (Dunedin) v Maccabi Hakoah (Sydney)
10.00am Capital City Futsal (Wellington) v Red Sox (Palmerston North)
11.00am East City v Football South Futsal
12.00pm Christchurch Futsal v Capital City Futsal
1.00pm Maccabi Hakoah v Red Sox
2.00pm Football South Futsal v Christchurch Futsal
3.00pm Capital City Futsal v Maccabi Hakoah
4.00pm Red Sox v East City
5.00pm Maccabi Hakoah v Christchurch Futsal
6.00pm Football South Futsal v Red Sox
7.00pm East City v Capital City Futsal
Sun 6 March
8.00am Red Sox v Christchurch Futsal
9.00am Capital City Futsal v Football South Futsal
10.00am East City v Maccabi Hakoah
12.00pm Semi Final 1: 1 v 4
1.00pm Semi Final 2: 2 v 3
STANDINGS AFTER SERIES TWO
|Capital City Futsal||10||5||3||2||25||11||+14||18|
|Red Sox Manawatu||10||4||0||6||23||32||-9||12|
|Football South Futsal||10||2||1||7||18||32||-14||7|
13 J Basger (Maccabi Hakoah)
9 D Manickum (East City)
6 N Wright (Red Sox Manawatu), D Dutra (Maccabi Hakoah) J Sinkora (East City)
5 L Silva (Capital City Futsal), J Mundell (Maccabi Hakoah), D Fulton (Maccabi Hakoah), D Hart (Football South Futsal)