Futsal Whites squad named for three-match international series in Vietnam

Head coach Marvin Eakins has named a 16-player squad to represent New Zealand in a three-match international men’s futsal series in Vietnam.

The Futsal Whites will play IR Iran (FIFA rank #7), Morocco (#8), and hosts Vietnam (#38) in Ho Chi Minh City in late March 2024. New Zealand are currently ranked 49th.

The series is an important part of the team’s preparation for their first-ever appearance at a FIFA Futsal World Cup, in Uzbekistan in September.

The squad features three brothers — Art Twigg, Denny Twigg, and for the first time, Sam Twigg (all Auckland City FC).

A second uncapped player, Capital Futsal’s Sean Beresford, is also set to make his international debut.

New Zealand squad


Rahan Ali (12/14) Moreland Futsal, Australia
Mike Antamanov (12/1) Auckland City FC, Aotearoa New Zealand
Stephen Ashby-Peckham (41/17) Auckland City FC, Aotearoa New Zealand
Sean Beresford* (0/0) Capital Futsal, Aotearoa New Zealand
Jordi Ditfort (23/13) Bloomsbury Futsal, England
Hamish Grey (12/6) Zambu CFS Pinatar, Spain
Oban Hawkins (20/7) Southern United, Aotearoa New Zealand
Dylan Manickum (63/37) Auckland City FC, Aotearoa New Zealand
Ethan Martin (12/8) Waikato Rapids, Aotearoa New Zealand
Adam Paulsen (12/5) Auckland City FC, Aotearoa New Zealand
Thomas Picken (7/1) Auckland City FC, Aotearoa New Zealand
Casey Sharplin (12/5) Waikato Rapids, Aotearoa New Zealand
Art Twigg (7/3) Auckland City FC, Aotearoa New Zealand
Denny Twigg (5/0) Auckland City FC, Aotearoa New Zealand
Sam Twigg* (0/0) Auckland City FC, Aotearoa New Zealand
Logan Wisnewski (20/5) Bloomsbury Futsal, England

* Indicates a debut Futsal Whites call-up

New Zealand’s opponents

IR Iran and Morocco are among the powerhouses of international futsal, both reaching the quarter-finals at the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup.

IR Iran have qualified for every FIFA Futsal World Cup since 1992, finishing third at the 2016 edition, and have won the AFC Asian Futsal Cup a record 12 times.

Morocco have won three straight Arab Futsal Cups (2023, 2022, and 2021) as well as the last Futsal Confederations Cup in 2022.

Vietnam are looking to qualify for a third consecutive FIFA Futsal World Cup, with qualifiers taking place following this series, and reached the Round of 16 in 2021.

Marvin Eakins … ‘we can’t wait.’

Coach Marvin Eakins: ‘It’s a great test for us’

Futsal Whites head coach Marvin Eakins sees the series as a perfect opportunity for his side to experience top-level competition before the FIFA Futsal World Cup later this year:

“It’s a great opportunity to test ourselves against elite opposition,” he told NZ Football’s website.

“We have high goals for the FIFA Futsal World Cup; we want to get out of the group and compete in the knockout stages.

“We know there’s work to do to get us ready for that, and this tour in Vietnam is a key part of that.

“We’ll play some of the most in form teams in international futsal, all with different styles of play than we’re used to coming up against.

“We haven’t had the chance to face such quality opponents for some time, so it’s a great test for us to get a benchmark of where we sit and what we need to do to be ready for the World Cup.”

The players are also looking forward to testing themselves against the world’s best after securing World Cup qualification for the first time in history last year, including Futsal Whites stalwart Stephen Ashby-Peckham:

“Qualifying for the World Cup still feels surreal at times, it really is a dream come true. Not only for me but for everyone that has been involved over the years.

“Preparing to play on the world stage brings a different level of focus, and we can’t wait.

“In Vietnam, we’ll be playing against some of the best teams and players in the world. You always want to test yourself against the best, and this is a huge opportunity to do that.”


Game to be played on Thursday March 28, 2024

New Zealand v Vietnam
Lanh Binh Thang Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City, 11pm (NZT)

Game to be played on Saturday March 30, 2024

New Zealand v Iran
Lanh Binh Thang Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City, 8pm (NZT)

Game to be played on Sunday March 31, 2024

New Zealand v Morocco
Lanh Binh Thang Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City, 8pm (NZT)

About the 2024 FIFA Futsal World Cup

The tournament will be staged in Uzbekistan from September 14 – October 6, 2024.

It will be the 10th Futsal World Cup and 24 teams will participate, including the host nation and New Zealand.

READ MORE: More teams qualify to join Futsal Whites at FIFA Futsal World Cup tournament >>>>

More football stories