Wales take first Futsal steps

Gary Pritchard

Gary Pritchard

Tuesday, 15 May 2012, 21:55

In April FC Barcelona beat Dinamo Moskva in the final of the Uefa Futsal Cup to add a brand new trophy to the ever expanding trophy cabinet at the Camp Nou.

And their success ensured that Spanish dominance of the club and international Futsal scene in Europe continued – Spain have won six of the eight European Championships whilst Playas de Castellón, Inter Movistar and now FC Barcelona have won six of the 11 Uefa Futsal Cups.

Spain are now even beginning to challenge the the previously undisputed Futsal kings of Brazil with A Seleção having to rely on penalties to beat the Spanish side in the 2008 World Futsal Cup Final.

And now, Wales has taken its first steps on the Futsal ladder.

This season’s Uefa Futsal Cup began back in August 2011 with 49 clubs from 48 countries taking part, and, for the very first time, Wales were one of those countries.

The New Saints created a little bit of history as they travelled to Geneva, Switzerland for the preliminary round of the competition but the Oswestry club suffered a baptism of fire.

They were well beaten in all three matches agaisnt the home side, Geneva Futsal, EID of Dublin and Nautara Kaunas from Lithuania, but it was a very important step in the development of Futsal in Wales to be represented in Europe’s premier club competition.

On Sunday, the Deeside Leisure Centre was the location for the 2012 Wales Futsal Finals Day to decide which club would follow in the Saints’ footsteps.

As well as the reigning champions, Cardiff Corinthians, Cardiff City Futsal Club, Saltney Town, Conwy United and Rhaeadr had reached the finals.

But it was the two capital city clubs who reached the actual final with Cardiff City Futsal Club lifting the trophy by beating their neighbours 7-2 and with it the honour of representing Wales in Europe next season.

As well as having a representative in the Uefa Futsal Cup, Wales now also boasts an international Futsal squad with one eye on the qualifying matches for the 2014 UEFA Futsal Championship in Belgium.

The squad came together for the first time in December and as Andrew Howard, Head of Competitions at the FAW explains, most of the squad were spotted at last season’s FAW Futsal Cup competition.

“I’m delighted that over half of the National squad, were first identified through the inaugural FAW Futsal Cup,” he said.

“There are four players who played for the champions TNS, who also gained European experience with their club in the UEFA Futsal Cup in August.”

Richard Gunney Futsal Development Officer for the Welsh Football Trust is also convinced that Futsal will help develop players for all aspects of the round ball game in Wales.

“In Wales, the aim is for Futsal at a grass roots level to be another tool in the coaches armoury to support the development of our players in Wales,” he explained.

“Futsal is fun, exciting and technically challenging game which supports a players technical and tactical development in football and the Futsal National Squad is a fantastic opportunity for a player to represent Wales in International competitions”.