Futsal Champions to represent Australia

The 2009 FFA National Futsal Championships Men’s Open competition will have further motivation during the week long tournament following the exciting announcement that the winner will go on and represent Australia.

The 2009 FFA National Futsal Championships Men-s Open competition will have further motivation during the week long tournament following the exciting announcement that the winner will go on and represent Australia.

The FFA-s Head of National Teams and Football Development, John Boultbee, announced during his speech that the National Champions of the Men-s Division will progress through the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Futsal Club Champions League as Australia-s representative.

Australia will be one of ten teams to compete at the first ever AFC Futsal Club Championship at a venue yet to be determined but it-s little doubt that the opportunity is a welcome one to the futsal community.

“It-s an additional boost,” Boultbee said of the upcoming Asian Club Championships.

“We-ve got National Team opportunities in the Asian Championship and beyond as well as the South East Asia Championships but now there are opportunities for one of the [national championship] teams to get some international competition.”

“With Futsal, the more competition we can get the better.”

It-s yet to be decided how the club selection process for future tournaments will be determined but that should come following a review taking place over the next couple of months.

“This is the first time [a review] has happened and it-s really important,” Boultbee said.

“We-re undertaking a review at the moment which will be finished in a couple of months which will recommend a new structure, new governance and a futsal development plan from the grassroots up to the national team.”

The FFA will be using the National Championships as an opportunity to kick start the review which will change the face of the sport forever.

“There-s an online survey that we-re hoping many of the participants will complete through the FFA and Futsal National-s websites, we-ve done a lot of consultation with stake holders and importantly we now need to be talking to the commercial operators who are an important force in Futsal.”

“We can-t have the sport heading in different directions; we need to all be heading in the one direction.”

The recommendations from the review are expected to be implemented before the end of the year.

After the formalities and entertainment, action finally got underway at the AIS with the Men-s Open defending champions, ACT Cobras, looking to defend their title against the NSW Thunder in a grand final rematch from last year.

With National representation on the line, the ACT Cobras and NSW Thunder are favourites to compete for the honour but little could separate the two sides early in the competition with a 1-1 draw to kick off their 2009 campaign.

With revenge in their sights, NSW-s Lachlan Wright got the visitors off to the perfect start opening the scoring after only two minutes but couldn-t maintain their lead when Elia Salloum levelled the scores only minutes later.

Despite numerous opportunities either side of half time, neither team could break the deadlock with a combination of wood work and solid goal keeping.

In other results, Victoria gave Queensland a touch up with a 7-1 win in their opening game while NSW Lightning defeated the ACT Colts 6-2 and New Caledonia-s FC Ferrand went down to Northern NSW Hornets 5-3.

While in the Women-s Open division, Victoria, ACT Cobras and NSW Thunder all got their championships off to a perfect start with victories over Northern NSW, Western Australia and Southern NSW respectively.

For more information on results, fixtures and the FFA Futsal Survey, keep up to date online at www.futsalnationals.com.au