The Futsal Whites and Futsal Ferns are about to set foot on the international arena and have used part of their build-up for the Trans Pacific Futsal Cup to inspire the next generation of budding young futsal stars.
The two New Zealand sides will take on their counterparts from New Caledonia over three matches each in Tauranga from September 12 to 14 and have been hard at work in preparation but have still found time to pass on some of their skills.
GET IN to Futsal Road Shows have been held by New Zealand Football up and down the country with the aim of spreading the popularity of futsal and encouraging even more Kiwis to get involved in the rapidly-growing small-sided game.
Each of New Zealand Football’s seven federation has a GET IN to Futsal Road Show on their calendar and these events typically include junior and youth tournaments, coaching and refereeing courses and have-a-go sessions, as well as appearances by Futsal Ferns and Futsal Whites players.
The recent road show held by the Mainland Football Federation in Christchurch coincided with the first official training camp for the newly-established Futsal Ferns, who are set to create history as the first senior female national futsal team to represent the country.
Members of the Futsal Ferns squad were all heavily involved in the road show and New Zealand Football Futsal Development Manager Josh Margetts says it was fantastic to see them engaging in the grassroots game.
“The GET IN to Futsal Road Shows are a great tool for community engagement across our member federations,” he says.
“The activities are designed to focus on a few main futsal development priorities for each federation and Mainland Football executed an outstanding road show with a strong emphasis on girls and women’s futsal,” he explains.
“This included the delivery of the NZF Introduction to Futsal Coaching Award, a junior club tournament, and a girls-only junior and youth festival. This activity tied in really well with the inclusion of the Futsal Ferns training camp and these female role models were active in the community events by signing autographs and coaching or refereeing some of the teams in the girls-only festival. This goes to show the strong influence that the futsal national teams have in giving back to the game at a regional level.”
As well as getting to meet their heroes, those in attendance also got the chance to see the Futsal Ferns take the court for the first ever time in a practice match against the Canterbury United Futsal Pride, the region’s representatives in the national league.
Mainland Football Futsal Development Manager Ronan Naicker was delighted to welcome the Futsal Ferns and says their presence helped make the event a big success.
“We were really fortunate to host the Futsal Ferns for their first camp and their first game together with the majority of the weekend built around this. The success story of the weekend would have to be the community engagement in the girls and women’s space, from the coaching course and festival to the crowd that watched an exciting Ferns game on Sunday.”
The Futsal Ferns and Futsal Whites are both set to take on New Caledonia this month in the Trans Pacific Futsal Cup. The ground-breaking fixtures will take place in Tauranga as exhibition matches as part of the AIMS Games, a nationwide event that brings together intermediate-aged children to compete in a range of sports and which has seen huge growth in futsal.
A GET IN to Futsal Road Show will be held by WaiBOP Football in conjunction with the AIMS Games and Trans Pacific Futsal Cup while Capital Football will do likewise from September 22 to 24 at the Te Rauparaha Arena in Wellington. The Capital event will include level one courses for both coaching and refereeing, a junior and youth tournament and exhibition games featuring the men’s and women’s U-18 national teams.