New Delhi [India], November 1 (ANI): All India Football Federation (AIFF) General-Secretary Kushal Das has said that the inaugural edition of the Futsal Club Championship will be truly path-breaking for Indian football.
In an interaction with ANI, Das opened up on his hopes from the inaugural Futsal Club Championship and how it will provide a different spectacle for the viewers in the country.
The inaugural edition of the Futsal Club Championship being organised by the AIFF is set to kick-off from November 5-13, in New Delhi. This will be India’s first-ever Futsal tournament at a national level.
“This is path-breaking for Indian Football. We would have been into the second, or maybe the third edition by now had the pandemic not hit us. The Futsal Club Championship allows the players a platform to showcase their skills, and will galvanise the masses to make Indian Football more appealing, and popular. Futsal is for all ages – right from amateurs to professionals to even players who play it as a hobby. It’s fast, it’s exciting, it’s eye-catching,” said Das.
Sixteen clubs from across the country who will be participating in the championship have been divided into four groups. Teams in a group will be playing each other in a round-robin format with the group winners advancing to the semi-finals.
“The rules are a bit different, but the basics are the same. Every great footballing culture has embraced futsal as a sport, and some of the biggest names in football have honed their skills playing futsal. Futsal facilitates decision-making of a player, helps him improve on his basics, and makes him much more technically equipped,” said the General Secretary.
“If you look at some of the Asian countries – Iran, Japan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and others, — they have been doing well at the international level, and the fact of the matter is that they have a very strong Futsal scene as well. Football is a beautiful game, but Futsal is equally beautiful to watch. It is a sport tailor-made for the fans,” he added.
Talking about his hopes from the tournament, Das said: “The first steps have been taken, and we have 16 clubs participating in it. We look forward to the respective State Associations taking up the mantle and spreading the sport in their hinterland, districts, even schools. There needs to be Futsal Leagues all over, and in a very robust fashion. We see this gaining immense popularity in the next few years. I also need to thank the help of the Asian Football Confederation for helping us to take it forward together.”
“If you look at the format, it’s played in a more confined space, over a shorter period of time, but at a much faster pace. Much like Basketball and Kabaddi, Futsal has the potential to capture the imagination of the fans,” he added.
Following the Futsal and Beach Soccer Committee Meeting, the Futsal Club Championship draw was conducted at the Football House in New Delhi, with representatives from all the clubs witnessing the draw via video conferencing.
The groupings for the Futsal Club Championship 2021-22 are; Group A: Chanmari Zothan Futsal, Super Strikers FC, Baroda FC, Mohammedan SC. Group B: Kuppuraj FC, Speed Force FC, Sporting Clube de Goa, Bengaluru FC. Group C: Telongjem FC, Delhi FC, Niaw Wasa United Sports & Cultural Club, TRAU FC. Group D: Real Kashmir FC, Classic Football Academy, Mangal Club, Sudeva Delhi FC.
“It will facilitate building a rich club culture. Futsal is often played as a hobby in the metros, and even in the hinterlands, the 5-a side football tournaments are quite similar to Futsal. All of a sudden, there’s bound to be an influx of players in Indian Football. Some may come to pursue their hobby, some may come in to follow their passion at a serious level. Indian Football will only be the winner,” said Das.
“As it’s played in a small area, the pressing is extremely high. In such a situation, it facilitates the decision-making of a player. The first touch of a player is also so crucial in Futsal. Moreover, what many fail to gauge is that one needs immense stamina to play it. For a constant 20 minutes (one half), you have to go up and down. And mind you, the clock stops when the ball goes out. So one is playing exactly 40 minutes of Futsal split into two halves. Sometimes, a match often goes on for over one and a half hours,” he signed off. (ANI)