New Zealand’s Futsal Whites play their first international match in three years when they go into action today at the OFC Futsal Cup tournament in Fiji.
Coach Marvin Eakins says the squad have targeted winning the tournament as preparation for next year’s Futsal World Cup qualifiers.
“This tournament gives us a great opportunity to test ourselves against some strong OFC sides ahead of World Cup qualifying next year,” he told NZ Football’s website.
On Tuesday, they play a Fiji FA President’s Five, kicking off at 3.30pm (NZT), after rescheduling of the game from its original time of 1pm.
The tournament runs till September 18 and marks the return to action of the Futsal Whites after a break of three years forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Fiji Football Association President’s Five will participate in the tournament at Vodafone Arena, Suva.
New Zealand v Fiji FA President’s Five
September 13, 3.30pm (NZT)
New Zealand v Vanuatu
September 14, 6pm (NZT)
New Zealand v Tonga
September 16, 3.30pm (NZT)
The Futsal Whites have been drawn in Group A with Tonga, Vanuatu, and a Fiji Football Association ‘President’s Five’.
Group B consists of Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa and Solomon Islands.
Four group games will take place each day at the Vodafone Arena, Suva.
At the conclusion of group play, the teams will split into a Cup and a Plate section for the knockout stage.
The winners and runners-up from each group meet in the semi-finals of the Cup while the other teams meet in the semi-finals of the Plate competition.
The semi-finals will produce the finalists for the Cup and Plate and the losing semi-finalists will play off for places, enabling all eight sides to be placed in order at the end of the tournament.
Futsal Whites squad
Rahan Ali (Southern United)*
Yousif Al-Kalisy (Auckland City FC)*
Mike Antamanov (Auckland City FC)*
Stephen Ashby (Auckland City FC)
Jordi Ditfort (Waikato Rapids)
Hamish Grey (ASD Isola 5)*
Oban Hawkins (Northern Comets)
Ethan Martin (Waikato Rapids)*
Sean McIntee (Auckland City FC)*
Adam Paulsen (Auckland City FC)*
Casey Sharplin (Waikato Rapids)*
Patrick Steele (Waikato Rapids)*
Denny Twigg (Northern Comets)*
Logan Wisnewski (Waikato Rapids)
* Debut senior squad selection
How to watch
Every match at the tournament will be live-streamed and available to watch free on the OFC website via Eleven Sports here >>>>