With football achieving national recognition in the Philippines, it’s only a matter of time before futsal becomes the newest and biggest sports trend. In fact, it’s already beginning to gain traction in Metro Manila. Students have begun to play the game in courts and parks after school, while young professionals have been trekking to indoor courts during the weekend to compete in matches and even train for international competitions.
There are a good number of men and women interested in futsal, however there is very little information available online for Filipinos who want to try the sport and join a team. In this article, we’re going to provide readers a brief background on this relatively new game and its slow but hopeful development in the country.
Futsal: A Brief Background
Futsal is a variant of association football played on a smaller pitch. Created and developed in Brazil and Uruguay during the 1930s and 1940s, the sport is played between two teams composed of five players each, including the goalkeeper. There is a maximum of nine alternates per team, with unlimited substitutions during the actual match. Similar to hockey, substitutes can join the thick of the match as it is happening, but the previous player must be out of the court before the substitute can start playing.
Unlike its popular cousin, football, the game is played on a hard surface defined by perimeter lines. This makes it easy for people to try the game since a simple basketball or tennis court can serve as an adequate match venue. The ball is also smaller and has less bounce, compared to standard footballs.
Because it is played on a smaller space and players can constantly substitute during a match, futsal is considered a more fast-paced sport, creating a more exhilarating game in the process. The surface, ball and design of the sport also places a special emphasis on a blend of well-executed strategies, improvisation, creativity and technique.
The Key Benefits of Futsal
Futsal is an excellent sport all on its own. However, it’s also a stepping-stone to other sports, like football or even basketball. Futsal requires precision, technical skills, quick reflexes and the ability to make split-second decisions that may be vital to the outcome of the match.
The demands of the game also necessitate close ball control and the quick pass and move technique, helping players master the difficult and intricate art of defense. This brain-meets-brawn technique is also useful for other team sports, as a solid defense enables players to control the flow of a game.
On the health and wellness side of things, immersion in futsal also improves endurance, agility and speed. It tones arms, legs and core muscles, while strengthening cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
Futsal in the Philippines
Futsal in the country remains relatively small, but its community is bursting with passion and pride for the game. The Muzangs, the Philippine’s own Futsal team, has been active in the Asian arena, training extensively in order to complete head to head with the fiercest teams around. The team joined the recently concluded Asean Football Federation (AFF) Futsal Championship last September and brilliantly held their own against Laos.
Unfortunately, the Muzangs’ campaign for victory came to a sudden halt when they faced powerhouse teams Vietnam and Thailand, whose players have been immersed at the game for years and whose players had competed in the World Cup. Regardless of this defeat, the Muzangs have a promising future ahead, as more Filipinos become interested in the sport.
Schools have been active in the futsal community, with student teams joining local citywide tournaments. Of notable interest is the Philippine Schools Futsal Championship, which concluded last October 2014. The event saw more than a dozen schools compete in friendly matches. The PFA-Laguna Youth Cup also demonstrates that there is a growing interest in the game in other key cities as well.
Plans are underway to create more futsal courts in the country, adding to the Kick Off Indoor Football Center and the UA&P Futsal Court, the first regulation court in the country, which we at E-sports were proud to have worked on. Well-designed indoor sports courts, using arena tiles and other high quality surfaces, enable people to try out new and different sports.
We look forward to working with more schools and institutions to design and build indoor multi-purpose courts that help diversify the range of sports that Filipinos can play.