PANAJI: The football-crazy state of Goa has been slowly warming up to futsal, an indoor version of the sport played on a hard court.
More than 15 futsal grounds have been developed in the state in a span of fewer than 10 years, and promoters of the sport have termed it as a nursery for football players and initiation into football.
Talking to PTI, Futsal Alliance of Goa president Benjamin Silva said they had taken baby steps to promote the sport in 2016 and six years down the line, their efforts have borne fruit.
Silva recalled how the journey was not easy, as the Goa Football Association (GFA), affiliated with FIFA, refused to extend a helping hand.
We continued in our own way. He said we intended to create more futsal players in the state.
With no proper infrastructure, futsal took time to grow in the state. But now, there are enough grounds and an ample number of teams engaging in the fixtures.
The Don Bosco Institution at Fatorda in South Goa has come as a saviour for the game by constructing an international standard futsal court on its premises and opening up opportunities for hosting games in the coastal state.
Ten years ago, when we conducted the first futsal tournament at Don Bosco Oratory in Panaji, we had to import balls from Australia. There were no balls available in India for this sport, said Fr Raline D’Souza, rector, Don Bosco Fatorda.
Fr D’Souza said the situation is much better now as the sports have gained recognition.
Another priest and promoter of futsal, Fr Kinley D’Cruz of Don Bosco Fatorda, said more youngsters are getting attracted to futsal, which does not require that many players.
For a game of football, you require 22 players, but for futsal, you only need 10, he said.
Futsal is being played across age groups and has become “a nursery for the football players”, in the sense that it is a good initiation into football, Fr D’cruz said. (Source PTI)