The Cottonera Sports Complex wil be hosting the UEFA Futsal Cup Preliminary Round Group B mini-tournament between August 16 and 19. Local Futsal champions ZC Excess Futsal will host the champions of Finland, Denmark and Albania – FS Ilves Tampere, BGA Futsal and KF Tirana respectively. Details about the tournament were given during a press conference which was held at The Palace, Sliema on Tuesday.
Tournament Director Mark Borg said this was the first time a Maltese club was hosting a UEFA Futsal Cup mini-tournament. This was another major milestone for the club after winning the First Division championship, player-coach Florin Anton winning the Best Futsal Player in the Melita Malta Football Awards and the MFA Best Futsal Player and the set-up of the club’s own futsal school.
Borg said that the club was working hard to promote futsal development in Malta, bringing about all the benefits as obtained by Futsal developed countries such as Brazil and Spain. Notwithstanding the fact that it is a proven that futsal development especially in the kids’ sector has been a success in such countries and that countries like England and Ireland have recently embarked on a national futsal strategy, this is yet to be adopted in Malta.
Mark Borg went on to thank all those who made this bid to host the UEFA Futsal Cup mini-tournament possible, namely the Kunsill Malti g?all-Isport and Parliamentary Secretary for Youth & Sport Clyde Puli thanks to whom it was possible to have the tournament hosted at the Cottonera Sports Complex, Malta national futsal coach Vic Hermans for his continuous support and his hard work towards the development of futsal in Malta and club sponsors ZC Installations.
ZC Excess Futsal President Edward Psaila said winning the championship was a dream come true for his club. He said that the UEFA representative was impressed by the facilities offered – the hotel which will host the teams and the Cottonera Sports Complex which will host the tournament. The club is working hard so that the tournament will be a success.
Psaila explained that last January, the club launched its own futsal school “We love Futsal School” which is led by Florin Anton and Darren Fenech. A school which should help in the development of futsal and possibly football in future. He pointed out that half the players in the Spanish squad which won the World Cup were former futsal players.
Edward Psaila concluded by thanking Clyde Puli and the Kunsill Malti g?all-Isport for their support in making available the Cottonera Sports Complex both for training and for hosting the tournament. On behalf of the Lazio Supporters Club, he then presented a memento to Malta Futsal national coach Vic Hermans for his work in the development of futsal in Malta.
Vic Hermans said he was glad his work over the past year as Malta national caoch is being appreciated. He said futsal is a fast growing game and in Europe, since the first edition of the UEFA Futsal Championship in 1996, which had less than twenty countries taking part, now almost all member associations are practising futsal.
With the support of the government, the Malta Football Association was holding annual futsal festivals for children in primary and secondary schools. He said that what Malta needs now is more facilities for futsal. Hopefully these would be available by attracting investment.
Vic Hermans concluded by wishing organisers success in this UEFA Futsal Cup mini-tournament and hoped this will help the game to develop further.
Parliamentary Secretary for Youth & Sport Clyde Puli said this was the first time the Cottonera Complex was hosting such a tournament. He said some modifications had to be carried out at the complex in order to make it compliant with UEFA regulations.
The government has already been supporting futsal through the annual futsal festival with around thousand boys and girls taking part in this year’s event. He said that these festivals were giving an opportunity for children to practice sports.
The Parliamentary Secretary went on to stress on the importance of investment in sport facilities. He revealed that the Sports Complex in Kirkop will be inaugurated later this year and explained that the flexibility of the indoor sports complex at the White Rocks will make it possible for fifteen events to be held concurrently or else have a single event with a seating for eight thousand spectators.
The programme of matches are as follows:
Monday 16 August
18:00 FS Ilves Tampere vs KF Tirana
20:00 ZC Excess Futsal vs BGA Futsal
Tuesday 17 August
18:00 BGA Futsal vs FS Ilves Tampere
20:00 ZC Excess Futsal vs KF Tirana
Thursday 19 August
18:00 KF Tirana vs BGA Futsal
20:00 FS Ilves Tampere vs ZC Excess Futsal