Training, tournaments dominate in Futsal
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Various Futsal tournaments and training seminars have taken place over the past two months, as well as the announcements of the hosts for the UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 and the UEFA Futsal Cup. Join FIFA.com as we round up the latest Futsal news from around the world.

Highlights
A Futsal exhibition took place in Manzini, Swaziland, in November alongside a course for coaches and referees. Ten schools were invited to the exhibition, where most of the participants, including three teams of young girls, experienced Futsal for the first time. The event served as a prelude to the creation of a Futsal league in 2012. “The course should prepare the coaches and referees for the new league,” said tournament director Boy Mkhonta. “Everyone enjoyed this event, and they are all looking forward to the launch.”

Development
Winter tends to be a time when Futsal flourishes in the northern hemisphere, given the less than ideal weather conditions during the cold months. This year, however, most of FIFA's Futsal development courses between November and January took place in warm countries.

Indeed, in the southern hemisphere, courses were held in American Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Mozambique, Uruguay, Zimbabwe and Peru, as well as in Oman and Central African Republic. The only course in a winter environment took place in Serbia at the end of November.

FIFA also staged a training course for national Futsal coaching instructors in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. The event brought together representatives from 12 different countries, and should enable those who attended to launch Futsal programmes in their respective countries.

Futsal across the globe
Belgium and the city of Antwerp have been chosen to host the UEFA Futsal EURO 2014. The tournament will be held in early 2014. Elsewhere in Europe, the first qualifying round for the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2012, which featured seven groups of four teams, took place in mid-December. The top two sides from each group qualified for the play-offs, to be played in March and April 2012. Spain, Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic and Russia all breezed through their respective groups, winning three matches out of three.

Meanwhile in the UEFA Futsal Cup, Dinamo Moscow, Barcelona and Marca Futsal all qualified for the finals, with the latter knocking out reigning champions Citta di Montesilvano. The finals will be held in Lleida, Spain, with Barcelona appointed hosts.

In Asia, Qatar won the AFC Futsal Championship West Zone qualifying tournament. Kuwait and Lebanon also secured qualification after finishing second and third respectively.

Finally, a women’s international Futsal tournament was held in Fortaleza, Brazil, in December. It featured eight nations from four different confederations. Brazil emerged victorious, with Spain the runners-up and Portugal finishing third.

They said
“I would like to thank the Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, and the whole team at the club for having put Lleida forward. It is a top-class European event for an emerging sport like Futsal, particularly a final in which Barça will participate,” Angel Ros, mayor of Lleida, after his town was chosen to host the UEFA Futsal Cup finals.

Futsal soccer is a little bit challenging but enjoyable because there are no rough tackles. We hope it [the league] will be implemented next year,” Simphiwe Mahlalela (Salesian High), a participant at the FIFA-organised course in Swaziland.

“We just love Futsal and the relevant authorities should just bring it on. There are no offsides which makes it more flexible than normal football. I play for Manzini Wanderers ladies but I feel Futsal is more enjoyable,” Sihle Mamba (Mjingo High), who also attended the FIFA course in Swaziland.

Coming up
FIFA's Futsal development efforts in the coming months will focus on Asia and Africa, with courses to be held in Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia, Sudan and South Africa.

On the competition side of things in February, a European club tournament will be held in Vienna, the Caribbean Futsal Tournament 2012 will take place in Cuba, and the AFC Futsal Championship 2012 ASEAN Zone qualifiers will be played in Bangkok, Thailand.