Waikato teams hope to make an impact (NZ)

Waikato Times

Three Waikato-Bay of Plenty age-grade sides are hoping to make an impact at the National Futsal Junior Championships in Wellington this weekend.

It will be the first time Waikato will be represented at the tournament in the under-14, 16 and 19 grades and for U-16 coach Brayden Lissington he hopes this could be an advantage for the sides.

“These are the first teams that we’ve put together, so this tournament’s development for us, getting down and seeing what the rest of the country has been doing,” Lissington said.

“No-one really knows anything about us and we’re hoping that could work in our advantage. Go down and surprise a few teams.”

For promising players Kyle Wisnewski, 14, and Jonathan Tobias, 16, the chance to represent Waikato-BoP at under-16 and 19 levels respectively is something of an honour.

“I just feel good about it, that we’re at this level playing futsal,” Tobias said.

“Feels like quite an honour to represent Wai-Bop,” Wisnewski added.

Wisnewski and Tobias had different expectations as they prepare for the national competition at the weekend.

“I reckon it will be a pretty decent standard with the Auckland and Napier squads already starting their futsal leagues earlier than us,” said Wisnewski, who attends Hamilton Boys’ High School.

“Hopefully we can give them a good run for their money.”

For Hillcrest High School student Tobias the plan was more simple.

“Just have fun and win. That’s my goal,” he said.

The two teens were selected last month to trial for the New Zealand futsal team and will be aiming to use the two-day tournament as an opportunity to impress national selectors.

Both boys aspire to take their futsal careers to the next step as they hope to emulate the likes of Brazilian stars Falcao and Ronaldinho.

“Making the New Zealand indoor futsal team, maybe in the next couple of years, that’ll be good.

“The squad for the 2016 World Cup, that would be a good goal,” Wisnewski said.

As for the sport growing within the Waikato, Tobias believes the game will explode within schools and young soccer players.

“I think it’s going to explode. Basically it’s going to grow because it’s really intense, fun and everyone can enjoy it.

“It works on your technique and skills for young kids as well.”

Lissington, who has played for the Futsal Whites (NZ men’s futsal team) said the team had prepared well at training over the past two weeks.

He added that there were vast opportunities for Waikato-Bay of Plenty age-grade players like Wisnewski and Tobias to push for higher honours and further their careers in futsal, not in just this weekend but in the national men’s league.

“Well there are opportunities for all of them.

“There’s a national men’s league over summer and they mentioned the 2016 World Cup. They’ve got a strong youth focus now leading into that.

“I think a lot of these players are going to be involved. From there, the New Zealand coaches are going to be watching.”

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