The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Ravenna/Italy 2011 dominated attentions across the beach soccer universe last month, making all the headlines as it took centre stage. With its impact still reverberating, numerous tournaments, seminars and other events have since followed or are soon to take place.
The most prestigious event in the beach soccer calendar was understandably the main attraction of the last two months, and Russia’s surprise triumph provided a fittingly dramatic conclusion to the festivities. As unlikely as it had seemed before the tournament, that victory nonetheless confirmed some clear trends in the discipline, with a remarkable El Salvador side and Senegal emerging as new forces and a genuine tactical revolution driving Russia to glory.
FIFA’s beach soccer development efforts were stepped up during Ravenna/Italy 2011. While the tournament was unfolding on the sand, in fact, FIFA organised a training seminar for FIFA’s beach soccer instructors from 10 to 14 September. These experts, chosen by FIFA to impart their knowledge to member associations and beach soccer practitioners the world over, were thus able to take on board FIFA’s latest instructions while sharing their own experiences. Several big names featured among the list of more than 20 participants, including Mustapha El Hadaoui, Henri Emile, Amarelle, Angelo Schirinzi, Madjer and Hector Petrasso.
A few days later, Brazilian instructor Marcelo Mendes took up the baton in the United Arab Emirates to oversee a course for beach soccer coaches and referees, alongside UAE refereeing specialist Mohammed Al Shanasi.
Elsewhere, a course for beach soccer referees was held in Japan in September, with American instructor Tim Weyland taking the reins.
Beach soccer across the globe
The beach soccer universe may have come to a standstill to take in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, but the wheels of the discipline are well and truly back in motion, with several tournaments scheduled for the coming months. The International Beach Soccer Cup in Dubai is next on the agenda and will feature eight teams from across the six confederations, while the Copa Lagos will get underway in December as four sides, including Brazil and hosts Nigeria, vie for glory.
What they said
"As a FIFA beach soccer instructor, I consider myself to have a big responsibility and an obligation towards the different countries and member associations in terms of aiding the development of the sport. The Salvadoran coaches were excellent participants in the FIFA course for coaches that I held there in 2010. I felt a lot of emotion at the start of the group game in which El Salvador beat us [Argentina] because we were up against a team led by a coach I helped train during that course. Certain moves and tactics used during the match reminded me of our discussions during the course. As a coach, the defeat hurt me, but as an instructor, I was proud of El Salvador’s success," Hector Petrasso, Argentina coach and FIFA instructor.
"To combine the seminar for FIFA’s beach soccer instructors with the World Cup was naturally very interesting, particularly for the instructors not taking part in the competition with one of the teams. Just to participate in the event, watch top-level matches and share our experiences of the latest developments in beach soccer was rewarding and important for us. On a personal level, not only did I travel with the Mexico team for the World Cup, but we arrived in Europe four weeks beforehand to prepare the team for the tournament. Times like those are demanding physically and mentally as they require a lot of energy, but the chance to take part in this seminar and to learn and share with the best coaches in the world meant it was well worth it," Ramon Raya, Mexico coach and FIFA instructor.
Four beach soccer courses are due to take place in the next two months, in Iraq, Iran, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Madagascar. The first course, in Iraq, will be held for beach soccer referees, while the three other events are aimed at local coaches.