Futsal in Brazil: lots of goals and lots of titles
For indoor football fans the date 8 December 1996 is one that is probably engraved in their memories, because of the final of the 3rd FIFA Futsal World Championship which was held in
Among the guests of honour were João Havelange, then President and now Honorary President of FIFA, and Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and along with the many Spanish present they saw the home team score four times. A good tally but not quite enough;
It seems that any team hoping to win the Futsal world crown will have to overcome the Brazilians. They simply dominate the sport in a way that no other team has yet matched, and so naturally they will be among the close favourites once again for the 4th World Championship, which will run from 18 November to 3 December 2000 in
For anyone that has won a world title three times in a row, the aim for the fourth time can only be to defend it," said Aecio de Borba Vasconcelos before the start of the World Championship in
A thousand professional players
While indoor football is not taken as a very serious sport in some countries, De Borba has no complaints about a lack of work in
And De Borba went on to give another reason why Brazilians have taken futsal to their hearts: "What we Brazilians love most is goals - the more that are scored and the more spectacular they are the better we like it. And that is just what futsal provides; on average there are eight or nine goals per match."
Not only does Manoel Tobias have a very good income, he is also very popular and draws the crowds. For example, when his team, Vasco da Gama, the reigning Brazilian champions, appeared for a match in the Maracanazinho Stadium in
The dream of many a youngster is to play in the national championship, since they are well aware that that could be a start to a great career. Many stars, and even some of the superstars, like Pelé, Zico, Rivelinho, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho first started to make a name for themselves in futsal. The total number of players who are currently active as professionals in "big pitch" football and came via futsal is somewhere around 300. Another impressive fact is that most of the Brazilian national team also started out with futsal.
The game is excellently organised and structured in
Vander Iacovino's ambition now is to make his mark as a coach. The first objective has to be to defend the title in
De Borba has two wishes for the tournament. First, naturally, to show the world who is master in this sport and to retain the title of world champions, and secondly to provide good advertising for the game. "That is also very important," he said. The reason behind his statement is that futsal has a very definite objective in mind: the Olympic Games in
This would please De Borba greatly, since it would give futsal even greater standing as a sport in
A man of many talents, the 54 year-old Brazilian Takão is not only well known as a dentist and university professor; in addition he has an outstand-ing record as a futsal coach, not to mention the fact that he played volleyball and basketball himself. He took over the national futsal team in 1989 and led them to a string of successes. Before he retired a few months ago the team had an amazing record - they won 18 of the 19 tournaments they entered and in eleven years only lost two competitive matches, one in 1995 against
Javier Lozano (coach of the Spanish national futsal team)
FIFA Magazine: What are the qualities that are needed to make a good futsal team?
Javier Lozano: Well, there are four main things that are very important in futsal: physical ability, technique, tactics and psychology. These four must all be right if a team is going to compete at a high level. Also important is the balance within a team - you cannot afford to have any weaknesses, otherwise top level performance will be out of the question.
And what are the skills that mark a good individual indoor player?
For a start, he has to be very good on the ball, fast, mobile and precise. Flexibility is also a necessity. Since the playing area is relatively small a forward must be prepared to help out in defence now and then. Thus the demands made on a player are a bit different from those facing the "normal" footballer.
What sort of chance would a top outdoor team like Real Madrid have against the Spanish national futsal team?
None at all. We would beat Real or any other top team 12: 0 or 12:1. But on the other hand the score would be reversed if we had to play against them on a big field.
Who do you see as the favourites for the Futsal World Championship in Guatemala?
There are always surprises in futsal, and that's what makes the sport so attractive, but I would have to name Brazil, Holland, Russia and Spain among the top favourites.
Brazil have won all three of the World Championships held so far?
We Spanish - and all the other teams there, of course - will be doing our best to make sure that Brazil do not take the title for a fourth time.
Why are Brazil so dominant in futsal?
The game has a long tradition behind it in Brazil; they have been playing indoor football at top level for over 50 years. Their dominance can be traced back to the social scene in the country: in Brazil, youngsters play football all the time, on the beach or in the street, and they are technically outstanding, as well as being fast and light on their feet, so that they acquire all the skills needed for this sport at an early age. And the pool of players in the country is enormous - the total population is around 150 million.
What do you expect from the tournament in Guatemala?
I am sure that it will be an exciting and attractive world championship, though maybe in the early stages we will not see a lot of great football, with tactics and caution being the main points. But later when the coaches are forced to show all their cards and teams begin to go all out, then we will see the real stuff.
At the start of the tournament, FIFA is running a two-day symposium on the subject of futsal. How important do you think this will be for the sport?
Very important, and I am grateful to FIFA for having organised it. The symposium shows that FIFA is seriously concerned about all aspects of the game and that they are making an effort on behalf of futsal.
How do you see the future of futsal?
Very positively. Indoor football is continually developing and becoming more spectacular and more popular all the time. More and more people are becoming aware of the game and taking it up as a sport. I love football above all else and it gives me great pleasure to see the progress that is being made here. But even so futsal is still in its youth and it needs calcium so that its bones grow strong and its body grows. However I am convinced that futsal will one day reach maturity and be recognised as a great sport. This will probably take some time yet, which is why this world championship and the symposium are so important. Futsal will be in the limelight for a while and get lots of attention. It is now up to us coaches, the officials and the players to make sure that we provide the best possible advertising for this up-and-coming sport.