Hawke’s Bay futsal tournament grows in popularity with young players

posted in: Futsal, News

By Rachel Lilburn

A fast-growing futsal tournament has drawn more than 40 junior and youth teams to the Hawke’s Bay for three days of competition in which more than 1,000 goals were scored.

Young futsal players from across the North Island gathered in Napier during Matariki Weekend (July 14-16) for the second annual HB Futsal Youth Futsal Tournament, sponsored by Arena Gym.

Organised by Hawke’s Bay Futsal (HB Futsal), the event was a resounding success, attracting 43 teams from as far away as Auckland, Hamilton, Mt Maunganui and Wellington, with 13 local Hawke’s Bay teams involved.

Main photo: A game underway on one of the six courts available for futsal. Photo credit: Rachel Lilburn.

Tournament director Shelley Bowie said:

“The primary focus of the tournament is providing more development opportunities for young futsal players, as well as nurturing young talent, officials, and coaches; all part of fostering a vibrant and competitive futsal community in New Zealand.”

Saved! Youth futsal is fast, skillful and full of goalscoring opportunities. Photo credit: Rachel Lilburn.

The tournament offered three age groups: U-11s, U-13s and U-15s.

The U-11s was mixed category, while U-13s and U-15s each had boys and girls grades.

The venue, Rodney Green Foundation Arena in Napier, was completed at the end of 2022 and officially opened on Thursday February 9, 2023.

It’s a fantastic space set up with six courts, each with a scorebench and electronic scoreboard.

Central Football provided referees for each game over the weekend.

Over the course of three action-packed days, 122 games were played, resulting in more than 1,000 goals scored during the tournament.

Competition format varied for each age group, depending on the number of teams entered.

Most teams had about six games over the three days, starting with a round-robin and then progressing to a knockout for Cup/Plate trophies.

In addition, HB Futsal introduced the Club Spirit Award this year, won by Samba Futsal Academy (Wellington) for displaying outstanding sportsmanship across all their teams.

The inaugural edition of the tournament in 2022 attracted 29 teams and was held in the adjacent building, Pettigrew Green Arena, with three courts.

Organisers have booked both the old and new venues for next year, scheduled to take place from July 19-21, 2024

HB Futsal have been involved in running Futsal for all levels in Hawke’s Bay since 2006.

Between 2006 and 2016, they ran junior, youth and senior futsal leagues in Napier as well as the elite programmes for NZF Youth Champs, and had teams in the men’s and women’s national competitions, now known as the Futsal SuperLeague.

When NZ Football and the football federations incorporated futsal into the Whole of Football plan in 2017, HB Futsal had a bit of a hiatus, before re-emerging as a development academy, delivering quality futsal coaching clinics and organising game days to provide players in their region with as many opportunities as possible.

Photo gallery

The following images are supplied by Captured by Charlie, a Napier-based photographer.

Please click on image to open to full size

Find out more

Visit www.hbfutsal.co.nz to find out more, and to register interest for your club or academy.

Entries open in early 2024.

What is futsal?

Futsal is a fast-paced and highly skilful version of football, played indoors on a smaller court with five players on each team, including the goalkeeper.

The game emphasizes close ball control, quick passes, and rapid decision-making, making it an entertaining sport to watch and play.

The sport is popular worldwide as a standalone sport, and has also gained immense popularity as a breeding ground for developing young football players due to its demanding nature and focus on technical abilities.

Rachel Lilburn

Taupo-based Rachel Lilburn is a volunteer writer for Friends of Football.

More futsal

READ MORE: Here’s our archive of futsal stories >>>>

Futsal writer wanted

Friends of Football seeks a writer with a passion for futsal who is keen to join our team of volunteers.

Click on the button below for more details:

More football stories