AFF set for Futsal showdown

Five strong teams each targeting a title win – that’s what AFF Futsal Development Officer Marvin Eakins believes ahead of the NZF National Youth Futsal Championships set for Palmerston North this weekend.

The biggest week on the New Zealand Futsal calendar will run over three days starting this Friday at the Central Energy Trust Arena and Eakins is excited about the build-up to this year’s campaign.

“We have five very strong teams and each of them will be looking to win their respective grades.

“The way we win will be important also as we will be trying to play attractive and innovative Futsal.

“Finding time together to prepare for the event is always a challenge at this time of the year but we have been lucky enough to get all the teams through a complete training cycle which covers all the key moments of a Futsal game,” Eakins said.

The AFF contingent features a wealth of experience at National competitions, especially at U-19 level, with both the male and female sides boasting senior representatives.

“In the girls space we have four players in Emily Gillion, Jenna Dodd, Maisy Dewell and Abby Murphy who have played for Auckland in the National Women’s Futsal League while Lauren Hartridge has represented Hawkes Bay. Adam Paulsen, Arzan Todywalla, Jimmy Banks, Luke Maynard and Will Lai all played in last year’s Men’s National League.

“Along with some of the up and coming players, all of them will be looking to perform well for their teams.”

There is an extra incentive for many of our talented players to perform well with the recent establishment of the New Zealand U-18 male and female Futsal teams along with a Futsal Ferns side.

“This tournament is one of the selection events for these newly established teams,” Eakins said.

“It gives players a chance to show whether they are up to playing at an interntional level.

“Teams that do well will give their players a good opportunity to be selected for these sides.”

The U-14 and U19 boys along with the U-15 girls get AFF Futsal’s campaign underway on Friday midday.

Squad Lists

U-14 Boys
Noah BANKS, Evan MANNING, Jacob WESTON, Matthew STRONG, Wilson SOUPHANTHAVONG, Zachary BEEHRE, Jonah PASTIROFF, George COPELAND, Oscar YEE
Coach: Declan PEACH

U-16 Boys
Alex PAULSEN, Finn MCCRAKEN, Hamish GREY, Harrison FREEMAN, Ivan CIBILICH, Otto INGHAM, Shukrullah REZAIE, Thomas WILSON, Campbell STRONG
Coach: Marvin EAKINS

U-19 Boys
Adam PAULSEN, Arzan TODYWALLA, Chris PREECE, Jayden BUSH, Jimmy BANKS, Luke MAYNARD, Michael SOFFE, Thomas PICKEN, Todd BROADHURST, Will LAI
Coach: Bakr AL-SAUDI

U-15 Girls
Sharon TOMOKINO, Ruby RIMMER, Petra BUYCK, Oliva ONGLEY, Kate DUNCAN, Heidi VAN DER PEET, Ella RUSS, Charlotte GORDON, Alisha PERRY
Coach: Rhys GREENSILL

U-19 Girls
Abigail MURPHY, Ella O’CONNELL-BIDDLECOMBE, Emily GILLION, Erin ROXBURGH, Jenna DODD, Kathryn GOW, Maisy DEWELL, Milly MCWHIRTER, Lauren HARTRIDGE
Coach: Nic DOWNES