Futsal Squad Named For World Championships

Qantas Futsalroos coach Scott Gilligan has named his fourteen-man squad to contest the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship to be played in Chinese Taipei next month.

Qantas Futsalroos coach Scott Gilligan has named his fourteen-man squad to contest the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship to be played in Chinese Taipei next month.   Paul Lombardo, Peter Spathis and Adrian Vizzari from New South Wales, Luke Haydon from Queensland and Elliot Zwangobani from the ACT are five additions to the squad which successfully negotiated the Oceania qualifying tournament in July.  There are also five players who are veterans of the last FIFA Futsal World Championship held in Guatemala four years ago - Brett Hewit, Simon Keith, Andrew Nolan, Gavin O-Brien and Zwangobani.

“The selection of the final squad was tough which shows there is good quality across our top players in Australia,” said coach Scott Gilligan.  “I-m pleased with the depth of the squad and could virtually interchange any of them without losing much.”

“With Australia not having won a game in the last three campaigns, my goal will be to show the rest of the world that Australia can play Futsal.  We won-t be taking a negative approach though, we will be playing to win and while it will be difficult, we are of course aiming to progress from the group stage.”    The Qantas Futsalroos squad for the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship is:   Luke Haydon (QLD), Brett Hewit (NSW), Simon Keith (NSW), Paul Lombardo (NSW), Scott Manson (ACT), Danny Ngaluafe (QLD), Andrew Nolan (NSW), Gavin O-Brien (NSW), Damien Pilat (QLD), Ben Singleton (NSW), Peter Spathis (NSW), Adrian Vizzari (NSW), Lachlan Wright (NSW), Elliot Zwangobani (ACT).

Australia has been drawn alongside three-time world champions Brazil, Asian qualifiers Thailand and the Czech Republic in Group B of the sixteen team tournament which commences for the Australians on 22 November in Taipei City.   Prior to the tournament the Futsalroos will travel to Brazil to partake in a four nations tournament involving hosts Brazil, Latin American giants Argentina and Group B rivals Thailand.  The tournament, which will be held in Brasilia ahead of a seven day training camp in Belo Horizonte involving several matches against local opponents, will provide invaluable preparation for the side who haven-t played any international matches since the July qualifiers.

The full tour schedule is:   Four Nations Tournament November 5 v Brazil, Brasilia November 6 v Argentina, Brasilia November 7 v Thailand, Brasilia

2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship November 22 v Brazil, Taipei City, 6pm (9pm AET) November 24 v Czech Republic, 6pm (9pm AET) November 26 v Thailand, 8pm (11pm AET)   Australia is one of only five nations to appear at all four previous FIFA Futsal World Championships since the first tournament was first held in 1989.  The previous tournaments were held in Holland (1989), Hong Kong (1992), Spain (1996) and Guatemala (2000).  Four years ago Spain secured the world championship after defeating Brazil, winners of the three previous tournaments. 

Meanwhile the national women's Futsal squad to tour Belgium and Holland this November has been announced.  The 11-day tour will include two matches against Holland on the 17th and 18th November and also matches against two representative teams in Belgium before the team compete in the 12-team Cheetah Cup 23-25 November.   The squad selected by coach Gui Costa is:   Zoi Gamble, Nicole Laws, Renee Tomkins (NSW), Jodie Hammond, Gabrielle Conquest, Nancy Parker, Narelle Campbell, Simone Forbes, April Mann* and Aliese Hoffman (Queensland), Kate Greenacre (ACT). * is a current Qantas Matildas player   The team will have a training camp in Brisbane on the weekend of the 13-14th November before departing for Europe.  The tour will be the first outing for the national women-s Futsal team since competing in Italy in May 2003.