Thais have long been impassioned by futsal. With the sport’s showpiece event just around the corner, though, futsal fever is at an all-time high in the south-east Asian country.
This was certainly apparent as the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012, supported by the Football Association of Thailand, staged three events in Nakhon Ratchasima in the last week of September.
“I believe that Futsal is heading in the right direction and I am happy to see FIFA is contributing to the development of Asian futsal, “said Ali Targholizade, AFC Director of Futsal.
“FIFA’s Legacy programme for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 also is part of Futsal Development in Asia. The overall standard and attendance of this seminar is pleasing and sharing experiences in this seminar is one of the most key elements of the Futsal Development in among the ASEAN region. Knowledge must be shared but not kept. Stronger countries in this region should assist others.”
“Some people might think that grassroots football is for football beginners just to have fun,” responded Tsang Wai Chung (Hong Kong), a FIFA Instructor.
“However, they might not realise the effect of mass participation. Without grassroots development, elite players will not be cultivated. It is similar to building a 60 floor skyscraper without a solid foundation.
"I would say, follow the success of these grassroots festivals, because Thailand has already laid the seeds of elite players at these events!
A grassroots football course unfolded from 26-29 September, with participants largely made up of local physical education teachers, who were given tips on organisation and coaching and shown the benefits of futsal.
A regional futsal seminar from 28-30 September was attended by representatives from Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam, with the objective to promote the sport.
On 30 September, the focus was on the kids having fun. Indeed, around 1,000 of them turned up to revel in skills stations and a tournament.
And with the events serving to whet appetites for the FIFA Futsal World Cup, bring on 1 November when the action gets underway!