Courtesy: The Royal Gazette On LineFast growing futsal comes to Bermuda
by Stephen Wright
FIFA futsal instructor Graeme Dell believes the small-sided version of football has become “an absolute essential development tool” for aspiring young players.
The ex-England team futsal coach hopes Bermuda’s football fraternity will embrace the game having spent the past four days educating local coaches and players about the world’s fastest growing indoor sport.
Dell, who has spearheaded the course held at CedarBridge Academy, is adamant futsal, made popular by the Brazilians, can help improve the touch and awareness of the Island’s youngsters.
Played with a smaller ball with less bounce than a regular football, futsal creates an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique and passing in small spaces.
“If you look at the countries around the world that play futsal, Spain for example, they didn’t become world champions overnight; futsal’s been a key part of that,” said Dell, who led the first ever England team in the 2004 UEFA Futsal Championships.
“In conventional indoor football you can kick the ball off the walls whereas in futsal the ball stays in play a lot longer. Statistically we know you are going to get 180 percent more touches than you would during a conventional small-sided match.
“Because there are more player contacts, the experiential element for the young player is far greater. It allows players to develop their technique; one-on-one challenges and the ability to make decisions. It’s an absolute essential development tool for young players.”
After stepping down as England’s coach after the Futsal 2008 World Cup, Dell became one of FIFA’s elite coaching instructors, running futsal training clinics around the world, especially in developing football nations such as Bermuda.
He said he had been overwhelmed by the interest and enthusiasm by those attending the Bermuda course, including former Robin Hood coach Andrew Bascome, St George’s Colts boss Richard Todd and PHC striker Cecoy Robinson.
“It’s almost unprecedented to get a course as over-subscribed as this we have had 35 people. To come to a small Island like Bermuda and see the volume of interest is amazing, the enthusiasm has been fantastic,” said Dell, who set up three national UK leagues (North, Middle and South) during his time working for the English Football Association.
“Every Association can apply for three financially assisted courses under the FIFA guidelines every year. The Bermuda Football Association applied for this as one of their portfolio courses and they were granted the course. FIFA invests more than $700 million over three year cycles in education courses like this, mainly in the developing countries; you wouldn’t think of running this type of course in Spain it’s more for the smaller countries.”
It’s important for futsal to be considered a sport in its own right, according to Dell, although he believes the game’s most important virtues lie in honing the skills of young players.
He now hopes the BFA, who launched a six-team women’s futsal league last year, continue to grow the game on the Island and make it a key part of their Strategic Plan.
“Hopefully this course will help the BFA look at the way they deal with youth development and how futsal can play a key part in that,” said Dell, who has had the privilege of working with esteemed names such as Sir Bobby Robson, Don Howe and new England coach Roy Hodgson.
“It’s our job as instructors to make sure everyone understands that futsal is a stand alone game, not in direct competition with football but part of the overall football package.
“Sometimes younger players are over-coached and futsal gives them all the things they need to develop as a young player, the game itself will develop them.
“These courses are expensive to deliver but we want to do this one, the next and the next. In return, though, the Association has to do more to develop the game otherwise you’re just throwing money down the drain.”
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari