A historic moment is taking place in New Zealand capital Wellington this week with the holding of the country’s first FIFA Level One Futsal Coaching Course since the small-sided game was integrated into New Zealand Football’s programme in 2010.
The five-day course kicked off yesterday at ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie and is being conducted by FIFA Instructor Scott Gilligan, who was recently appointed as the new Futsal Whites head coach.
In attendance are coaches of ASB Futsal National League teams and NZF Futsal Federation staff while OFC Futsal and Beach Soccer Development Officer Paul Toohey and OFC Women’s Development Officer Nicola Demaine are also on hand, along with NZF Futsal Development Manager Dave Payne.
The objective is to provide those involved with the sport access to a FIFA-affiliated programme and the content consists of a combination of theoretical and practical activities covering areas such as the history of futsal, laws of the game, methods of coaching and futsal techniques and tactics.
The course was preceded by a regional training camp for potential Futsal Whites – the country’s national team – from the central region of New Zealand. Two more similar camps, one in Auckland and the other in Timaru, will be held shortly as the Futsal Whites look to target qualification for the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup.
Australian Gilligan is pleased to be running the course and says there is plenty of potential for futsal in New Zealand.
“It’s great to work with participants of such a high calibre,” he says.
“Everyone in attendance is already actively working in futsal and I hope they can take knowledge from this week’s course away with them to continue to develop the game. New Zealand Football have embraced futsal and the future for the game here is very bright.”
Payne is relishing the chance to bring the nation’s futsal enthusiasts together and develop the game further.
“This is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to get all the newly-appointed futsal staff working within the football federations together in one place,” he says.
“Seeing everyone here this week I think emphasises how far we’ve come in the game in the last couple of years. Scott’s knowledge and passion for futsal is unrivalled in the region and having him on board as we look to further develop our programmes is fantastic.”
Toohey, who joined OFC at the beginning of the year and is responsible for the growth of futsal across the Pacific, agrees that Gilligan’s involvement is a boost to New Zealand.
“They are very well organised and now have Scott as national coach, working on a regular basis with players, coaches and administrators. They will go from strength to strength.”