Second annual ASB Futsal Girls and Women’s Tournament taking place in Wellington this weekend
The tournament is now a fixture in the domestic futsal calendar and another opportunity to showcase the indoor form of the game which is rapidly gaining traction in New Zealand.
History was made in September when New Zealand hosted its first ever futsal international on home soil with the Futsal Whites defeated in a three match series by the Australian Futsalroos in the inaugural ASB Trans Tasman Cup.
And while the internationals were viewed as the feature of the ASB Trans Tasman Cup weekend, it was one part of a raft of activities which aimed to highlight how futsal can be played by anyone at any age and any gender according to Futsal Development Manager Dave Payne.
“It was more a participation and awareness activity for us, so the Futsal Whites aspect was secondary to getting futsal in front of the wider public,” said Payne.
Prior to each of the international matches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday a number of showcase matches and ‘give it a go’ activities were held at ASB Stadium in Kohimarama in an effort to encourage people to try the sport.
That trend continues this weekend as girls and women’s teams from around the country descend on the ASB Sports Centre with the added bonus of the visiting Sutherland Shire club from Australia.
“Once again we’re here to raise awareness and provide opportunities for girls and women to play futsal,” said Payne.
At the conclusion of the weekend Payne intends on working together with Head of Football Development Bev Priestman and Women’s Development Manger Emma Humphries to discuss ways in which to integrate girls and women’s futsal into girls and women’s football structure.
“We’re definitely looking at futsal and women’s integration especially in the younger age categories,” said Humphries.
“Part of what we’re looking at is the current structure and seeing how we can make it more female-specific to get more girls and women into futsal.
“I think it’s a pathway that’s perfect for females in terms of fewer barriers to entry, and the increased technical development with futsal is really important to our game and the younger they can get into it the better it is long term,” added Humphries.
The ASB Futsal Girls and Women’s Championship gets underway on Saturday at 8am at the ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie and concludes on Sunday at 5pm.