Courtesy: New Zealand Football Association WebsiteFutsal set for milestone nightFutsal live streamNew Zealand Football is preparing for a milestone occasion for futsal tonight in Tauranga.
For the first time, the Futsal Ferns will play an international when they take on New Caledonia in the Trans-Pacific Futsal Cup, which is supported by Fit4Football, at the Bay Park Arena and this match will be followed by the Futsal Whites who will also take on New Caledonia.
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Dave Payne, the Chief Operating Officer for NZ Football, who has led the development of futsal for the governing said it was a landmark moment for the sport.
“It’s the first time that New Zealand have put up an international women’s futsal team on the stage and it’s the first ever FIFA futsal international for the women’s game in the whole of Oceania so it’s an historic moment for futsal,” said Payne. “The first three matches across the Trans Pacific Cup with the Futsal Whites also playing against the New Caledonia men’s team across the three nights as well. So it will be a great showcase for the sport.”
Payne said a lot of hard work had gone into putting a Futsal Ferns team on the court for the first time. The challenge was put to the women’s futsal community some years ago around why there wasn’t a national women’s futsal team.
“We said you need to go out and grow the base, get more females playing the game and then when we get to a certain point where we get around the 20 percent mark of participation we would launch a women’s team. They’ve fought hard and they’ve got to that point and now they’ve got the reward and that’s the national women’s team which is the Futsal Ferns.”
Payne said the aim for the Futsal Ferns is to start driving women’s participation in the game around New Zealand.
“Now we have the shop window for women’s futsal, they’ve been going around the country conducting the futsal roadshows, the first one was down in Christchurch a couple of weekends ago and all the girls come along and the young girls have got someone to aspire to, to be a Futsal Fern.”
The Trans-Pacific Futsal is part of the AIMS Games which is one of the biggest intermediate sports events in the country. A total of 9,300 competitors representing 275 schools from throughout New Zealand, Tonga and the Cook Islands took part last year.
The sporting championships give 11, 12 and 13 year olds an opportunity to compete as an individual or in a team against the best of their age in 20 different sports, including futsal. There is around 15,000 people and students taking part in futsal this week in Tauranga.
Futsal was included in the AIMS Games last year and there were 20 teams taking part in the first year. This year there are almost 40 teams competing and all of those student can watch the Trans Pacific Futsal Cup for free. The first game is at 6pm tonight at Bay Park followed by the second game at 8pm.
All of the Futsal internationals will be livestreamed on NZ Football’s home page – www.nzfootball.co.nz and the NZF Futsal Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NZFFutsal. New Zealand Football is keen to continue the huge momentum that futsal has in this country.
Futsal is the fastest growing sport in secondary schools largely due to the programme NZ Football has implemented in the secondary school space.
“This is just another by-product of that as we’ve continued to grow in the community space to have now created that pool of talent that we’ve seen that come through in the ranks of the two national teams. You’ll see two very young sides tonight taking part in this series which I am sure will be a memorable night for futsal in New Zealand.”
Futsal Ferns vs New Caledonia
September 12, 13, 14 (kick-off 6pm)
Bay Park Arena, Tauranga
Futsal Whites vs New Caledonia
September 12, 13, 14 (kick-off 8pm)
Bay Park Arena, Tauranga
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari