March 20, 2012
AUCKLAND – Auckland’s AFF East City Futsal claimed the 2012/12 ASB National Futsal League in commanding fashion in Wellington on Sunday with a 7-2 win in the final over Mainland Futsal after a perfect 12 wins from 12 in round robin action.
Nineteen year old Futsal White Dylan Manickum continued his golden-boot-winning form in the final with a destructive five-goal haul to take his season tally to 19, a whopping 10 goals ahead of team mates Bakr Al Saudi – who netted the other two goals in the final – and last season’s New Zealand futsal player of the year Miro Major.
Earlier in the day at ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie, the Auckland outfit beat last season’s best performing kiwi side Capital Futsal 4-1 in the semi-final, after a late run on home court saw the Wellingtonians into the final four ahead of Futsal South.
Mainland defeated Central Futsal Manawatu 4-1 in the other semi-final after losing the corresponding league game 2-3 earlier in the day.
The ASB Futsal National League is played over three weekends during the summer months. This season began at Dunedin’s Edgar Centre in December, moved to Auckland’s ASB Stadium for series two in February before concluding in Wellington.
New Zealand Football’s Futsal Development Manager Dave Payne was full of praise for AFF-East City’s achievement.
“Auckland have set a record here that will not be touched for a long time, if ever,” Payne said.
“A perfect season is an amazing feat but what makes it more impressive is that it comes at a time when the playing standards around the country are increasing rapidly.
“Mainland were the big surprise this year and went toe to toe with Auckland for the first ten minutes of the final before Auckland’s quality showed through. Last year, Capital were the ones to emulate and this year the benchmark is clearly set by AFF-East City.
“But looking around the entire league the levels are rising and I know that Futsal Whites coach Scott Gilligan has been impressed with what he has seen.”