Equatorial Guinea - August 25, 2018 09:00World Intercontinental Futsal Cup 2018: The ChallengersPart 2: Atletico Los Angelesby Steve Harris - Futsal Japan

Arrival of the Mystery Team from Africa

The World Intercontinental Futsal Cup is the only international competition for clubs at the confederation level. This poses a major problem for Africa, as there is no club championship held in that continent. Only two teams have represented the CAF at the WIFC: Ajax Tanger (Morocco) in 2004 and 2008 and Misr El Makasa (Egypt) in 2015.

According to rumors, the WIFC organizer again contacted teams in Egypt and Morocco – as well as Mozambique. For reasons that have not been made clear, the tournament berth for the CAF was given to Equatorial Guinea club Atletico Los Angeles, a new team managed by Spaniard Ricardo Iñiguez.

Though unconfirmed as of this writing, about half of the players in the Atletico Los Angeles squad are from Equatorial Guinea. The rest are from other countries.

3 Brazilians:
- Rodriguinho (Rodrigo Xavier Da Rocha) (Qatari national team, formerly of Qatar clubs Al Saad Club and Al Rayyan Club; last season he played for Al Nasr in the UAE)
- Arthur Linhares (before playing in Qatar he played at Poker/Petropolis with Vander Carioca and Lenísio)
- Fabricio Borges dos Santos (Hercules San Vicente, Div. 2 in Spain and recently in Czech Republic with Gardeline Litomerice)
1 Hungarian
- Marcell Alasztics (goalkeeper for Hungarian champion ETO Gyor through last season)
2 Spaniards from Melistar Futbol Sala, Div. 2B in Spain
- Jorge Barroso (formerly of ElPozo and Santiago)
- Yusef Ali Al-lal
1 Spanish Guinean:
- Buele (Cover Premia, 3rd div. in Spain)

The brazilian players of Atletico Los Angeles when they were featuring for Al-Rayyan (Photo courtesy: Gulf Times)

The brazilian players of Atletico Los Angeles when they were featuring for Al-Rayyan (Photo courtesy: Gulf Times)

From Valencia to Peniscola and on to Equatorial Guinea

Head coach Ricardo Iñiguez is a “futbol sala” coaching thoroughbred. The Valencia native earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Valencia Polytechnic University but pursued his futsal studies concurrently. He advanced to the College for Sport Education in Zaragoza to master coaching levels I, II and III between the years of 2002 and 2010.

From the 2004-2005 season he took charge of UPV-Maristas FS in his native Valencia and guided the team to a promotion into the second division of the LNFS. Then, moving up the coast to Castell Peniscola Benicarlo, Ricardo was eventually given the LNFS division 2 Best Coach award in 2012-2013 while overseeing the team’s promotion to the first division. But then came a request to prepare the national team of Equatorial Guinea for the 2016 World Cup.

Ricardo took up the challenge and was almost rewarded. In the first round of the CAF qualifiers, Equatorial Guinea was eliminated by opponent Zambia 7-7 after a home-and-away series (away-goals victory for Zambia). Zambia was eventually eliminated by Egypt, who was one of three African nations to take part in the 2016 World Cup finals.

Ricardo Iñiguez (Photo courtesy: Ricardo Iñiguez archive)

Ricardo Iñiguez’s comments about Atletico Los Angeles

“Atletico Los Angeles is one of the two top teams in the national league. It’s a humble team with a very small budget and built around players who practice every day on the streets. For them, this tournament is incredibly important.

“Since 2014, I have been the manager and coach of the Equatorial Guinea national team, as well as an advisor to the Guinean Futsal Federation. Three months ago, the Federation entrusted me to lead this project, a challenge that I accepted with pride and passion.

“Players from Equatorial Guinea are physically strong and fast, with good technique. When I arrived in Guinea, I saw that their futsal wasn’t quite tactically organized because they lacked the knowledge and capacity to work as a team. Now, we have the Foundations of professional futsal – order and tactical systems – so that we can finally play as a team.

“If Atletico Los Angeles was playing in Spain, we would be playing in the Second Division B. Nonetheless, we have worked hard and are ready for the WIFC. My players are capable of surprising everybody.”

Former Raba Eto keeper Marcell Alasztics (Photo courtesy: Raba Eto Futsal)

 (Photo courtesy:)

Atletico Los Angeles arrived in Bangkok (Photo courtesy: Atletico Los Angeles)

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