Australia’s best indoor talent is back in Canberra for the 2014 FFA National Futsal Championship commencing on the 13th of January and concluding on the 17th of January as the cream of the crop take to the court yet again in a bid to be crowned champions at the end of what will surely be another week of exceptional action.
And with traditional heavyweights NSW still smarting from not reaching the Open Men and Women’s Final last year, the stage is set for a tournament that should live long in the memory.
Four venues will provide the backdrop for the story that is set to unfold with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) providing its iconic Arena for Grand Final day on Friday.
Before that the pool stages for the Open Men and Women’s competitions and the standard-bearing Athlete’s with Disability (AWD) event, will be played throughout the week in the AIS Training Hall. Meanwhile the best the country can provide at junior and youth level will do battle at the MPowerdome in Fadden and on the courts at the Australian National University (ANU) in a bid to make the ultimate showdown.
Preparations have been underway since the final whistle was blown in the 2013 edition in order to make sure that this year’s event carries on the fine work of its predecessors. Staff from Capital Football, Canberra’s local football Federation affiliated to the FFA, has been diligently undertaking the tasks necessary in order to make the 2014 FFA National Futsal Championship a success.
Last year saw the implementation of the new age groups under the recommendation of the FFA and the National Curriculum and there can be no doubt that the competition was a major success across all age grades with a number of up-and-coming and promising stars emerging from each state. There’s bound to be a few more that catch the eye this year and who will aim to follow in the foot-steps of the likes of Tom Rogic, now of Celtic and the Socceroos, who developed his game on the Futsal court.
Futsal is indeed a fast and exciting sport. Played on a Basketball sized court with smaller goals it is, to the uninitiated, like Handball with your feet. It promotes technique, pace and ability over physicality and the long-ball game and had been the breeding ground for many World Class talents. Players such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are Futsal graduates and learnt their formative skills with a Futsal ball going onto become global superstars with the trickery, skills and finishing honed in the small-sided game.
The 2014 FFA National Futsal Championship will also bring to prominence the next generation of match officials, aiming to do as Scott Kidson did in 2012 and ultimately progress far enough in order to be up for selection for major international events including the FIFA Futsal World Cup Finals. Kidson’s experiences in Thailand were a reward for outstanding officiating at all levels which included a number of visits to Canberra for the national event. Keep an eye out this week for local ACT officials Sam Nixon and Georgia Ghirardello, both tipped to make rapid progress and who could make the step up to the international stage in the future.
With the coaching staff having prepared their charges it’s now over to the players to turn on the style. If you want to see an action-packed game played at pace with unbelievable technique, a wide range of finishing and some sumptuous skills, make sure you take the time to watch as many matches in the 2014 FFA National Futsal Championship as possible. You won’t be disappointed and you may well just convert to the joy of FIFA’s approved five-a-side game.
Full Tournament Draw can be found here.