The start of the new futsal season could not have been better for the girls of Spanish side Encofra Navalcarnero, who last weekend in Portugal claimed their fourth title in just ten days. Under the stewardship of Hector Posse and David Pasero, the all-conquering Madrid outfit added to recent titles claimed in Logrono, Ischia and Elche by taking the honours in the second International Women's Futsal Tournament last weekend in Carcavelos.
The four-team tournament, held on 16 and 17 September at the Dos Lombos Sports Arena, brought together Encofra Navalcarnero and Femesala Elche of Spain, as well as Lisbon's SD Benfica and CRC da Quinta dos Lombos of Carcavelos. According to Jose Manuel Igea, vice-president of the victorious Spanish side, the competition was "an interesting experience and one that demonstrated the excellent technical and tactical level of the women's game, which rivalled that of the men in many respects". The official also paid tribute to "the organisational abilities shown by the Club Quinta dos Lombos and their truly magnificent facilities".
The champions booked their place in the final with a comprehensive 7-3 win over Portuguese champions SD Benfica, though only after a late flurry of goals.
The decider was an all-Spanish affair after Femesala Elche prevailed in the second semi-final against local team CRC da Quinta dos Lombos. In the end, the side coached by Posse and Pasero ran out 6-2 winners thanks in no small part to outstanding displays by Eva Manguan, Vane, and Patri, the tournament's top-scorer, best goalkeeper, and best player respectively.
A winning habit
The girls from Encofra Navalcarnero have made a habit of lifting titles of late, this latest piece of silverware being their fourth trophy in only ten days. The first one came on 4 September when they won the triangular Ciudad de Logroño Trophy. Then four days later in Italy, they claimed top spot at the Sportmanía Futsal Club Tournament, before celebrating again on 10 September after lifting the Festa D'Elx Trophy with a win over Femesala de Elche, the same rival they beat in the final of last weekend's tournament in Carcavelos.
But this is no case of overnight success. Established back in 1992, the Madrid club finds itself where it is today because of unrelenting hard work and determination to succeed.
Far from being sated, the players now have their sights firmly set on claiming top spot in the 'División de Honor', the country's top flight to which they were promoted to 1997. There are certainly grounds for optimism, with the club finishing fourth, third and second in the last three seasons. If the performances of the last fortnight are anything to go by, they clearly have the potential to go one better and take the title this time round.
Vice-president Igea reflected the determination at the club when he spoke to FIFA.com: "These games have provided us with a very stiff test, as we've had to compete against two teams with a host of Portuguese and Spanish internationals between them and who are definitely among the best in the world. Our team have shown, therefore, that they're in good shape to meet the demands of the very challenging Spanish league."