Victoria University of Wellington’s futsal team are off to Brazil for the FIFA sanctioned FISU World University Futsal Games.
This comes following Victoria University’s win over the University of Waikato 4-3 at the National University Futsal Championships at the Manawatu Sports Arena last week.
The Victoria University coach was particularly excited about the win as it allows the Brazilian born Enrico Meirelles to return home.
Post-match, Meirelles said, “After like four or five finals [with Capital Futsal in the National Futsal League], the feeling is amazing,” said Meirelles. “We have been working for the past two months with the boys, and I am very proud of them. They did an awesome job. Everyone works very hard for each other.”
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He went on to say that the team is headed to Brazil solely through merit. “It is going to be tough, but we are not just going to go there to play games we are going there to try and win.”
Team member Royden Smith was also still buzzing from the win, saying the team “knew they had a great chance this year after having made the semifinals last year and only just losing on penalties,” adding that the victory felt “surreal” and “unbelievable.”
When asked whether or not the team will be fundraising for the July trip, Smith said “they were looking into it”, hinting at a possible “sausage sizzle or two.”
The inaugural National University Futsal Championship started last year and has proven incredibly successful, with National Futsal Manager for New Zealand Football David Payne seeing the world champs as important for the growth of futsal within New Zealand.
“We were rapt with the National University Futsal Championship and the final showed just how much both teams wanted to earn the chance to represent New Zealand at the Worlds,” said Payne.
The match was live streamed on the New Zealand Football website, and following the NZ Secondary School Championships, received positive support.
More than 9000 people watched the live stream, with almost 6000 unique views and the average viewing time was for almost ten minutes. On top of this, Facebook page dedicated to the event attracted an audience of 65000 people.
The team will be off to Goiania Brazil in July, with the FISU will take place from July 3–10, 2016.