The football-mad state of Goa has slowly warmed up to futsal, an indoor version of the sport played on a hard court.
More than 15 futsal pitches have been developed in the state in less than 10 years and the sport’s promoters have called it a hotbed for football players and an initiation to football.
Speaking to PTI, Futsal Alliance of Goa Chairman Benjamin Silva said they took small steps to promote the sport in 2016 and six years later their efforts have paid off.
Silva recalled how the trip was not easy as the FIFA-affiliated Goa Football Association (GFA) refused to reach out.
We continued in our own way. Our intention was to create more futsal players in the state, he said.
Without proper infrastructure, futsal has been slow to develop in the state. But now there are enough pitches and a large number of teams involved in the matches.
The Don Bosco Institution of Fatorda in South Goa has come as a savior for the game by constructing an international standard futsal court on its premises and opening up opportunities to host matches in the coastal state.
Ten years ago, when we organized the first futsal tournament at the Don Bosco Oratory in Panaji, we had to import balls from Australia. There were no balls available in India for this sport, said Fr Raline D’Souza, rector of Don Bosco Fatorda.
Father D’Souza said the situation is much better now that the sport is recognized.
Another priest and promoter of futsal, Father Kinley D’Cruz of Don Bosco Fatorda, said that more and more young people are attracted to futsal, which does not require many players.
For a football game you need 22 players, but for futsal you only need 10, he said.
Futsal is played across all age groups and has become “an incubator for football players”, in the sense that it’s a good introduction to football, Father D’cruz said.
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