AFA is proud to officially announce that the 2014 Australian men’s coach will be long-term veteran Gui Costa. We caught up with Costa following the men’s trial to have a chat about his expectations for the squad. Here is what he had to say:
Being selected to coach the men is a huge honour; it means that the hard work that I have done for the last 10 years in Australia and overseas has been recognised. It means an opportunity to continue to contribute with my work at the highest level possible; I want to help produce some great players and results for Australian Futsal. It is indeed a great position to be in but it comes with a lot of responsibilities, because you are representing a country, such as Australia, that has a successful history in so many sports. Although it’s a big challenge I am looking forward to it, and I know what to expect after taking both the Australian Women’s team and the New Zealand Men’s team to their respective Futsal World Cups.
Developing is my greatest philosophy; I am incorporating this into the men’s team by scouting new players. A national team cannot only survive on experienced players. The squad’s success will be dependent on a sensitive balance between both new and experienced talent. As a national coach you must leave good fruits of your work for the next coach coming in, I hope to achieve this by bringing new talent through the ranks.
When scouting players I look for a player who possesses a great ability to control and retain possession of the ball. To compete at a national level players need great footwork and the ability to hold on to the ball even if under enormous pressure. At the top level we can’t always be chasing the ball; we need to be able to work the ball around in order to find the gaps to attack. Fitness also is crucial; a player with talent but no fitness is of no use to us at this level. On top of that a player needs to be able to play in front of big crowds (5000 plus), and not let that affect their game.
I was pleased with the players at the trial they all did well, but I was particularly impressed with Emmanuel Harihiru, known as “Mani” from Western Australia. He is only 24 years old, but has a bright future ahead of him in futsal.
For young players hoping to make future Australian squads all I can say is the earlier you start playing Futsal the better for you can be. I know Australia is well known for offering a wide range of sports at a school level, but if you really love this sport, be sure that you keep your focus on futsal alone. There are professional futsal leagues overseas that pay big money, so there is a career there for Aussie kids. My message for the young players is that the futsal ball should be your pillow and you should take it to bed with you! At the end of the day if you practice a lot and are exposed to good competitions and good coaching on a weekly basis the world will be your oyster.
My goal is to prepare the team well for the upcoming Pacific Cup in Brisbane in October and hopefully win it. We need to be strong and competitive at home soil and that is my goal for now. Long-term I would like to take the team to the World Cup next year with well-prepared players that will be competitive enough to take us beyond the group stage. Beyond that I want to leave a legacy of young and talented players that can remain the core of the team for the next two world cups. Honestly we need to think long term if we want to become a powerhouse in futsal internationally, because Futsal still an unknown sport in many areas in Australia and we need a lot of coaches out there to deliver the message of Futsal is a great sport and it will take time and a lot of work for us to revolutionise the standards of the game in Australia. But Jonny Warren the great Australian soccer player once said, “Now we need to stop talking about making it to the world cup every 4 years and start thinking about winning it!” I want the same for futsal in this country, we have the talent to do it but we need to go and find the young players that want to fully dedicate themselves to Futsal and nothing else.