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Bertos switch for Aussie test

Bertos is named in the 16-player Futsal Whites squad for the first time for the series to be played at the ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie from July 11-13.
Futsal Whites coach Scott Gilligan – the long time former Futsalroos coach – says the introduction of Bertos to the mix will add to his team’s ability to break down his former team as New Zealand search for their first victory over Australia.
“The level of competition Leo has had is far superior to what some of the Futsal Whites have had,” Gilligan said.
“I just feel his presence on the court and the way he’ll be able to hold the ball up and shield and distribute to our players is something we’re lacking at the moment.
“I’m hoping he’ll be able to give us the opportunity to score more goals through the style of play we can develop with him in the squad.”
Bertos will be part of a group which is aiming to narrow the gap between the New Zealand side and the Australians on the court with Gilligan citing the development of the domestic scene – including the ASB National Futsal League – and regular training camps as key reasons for the Futsal Whites’ improvement.
“We’re certainly getting closer and looking at the side that they are bringing, we’ve got a good chance of closing the gap further and I think we’ll be a lot more competitive this time around.”
“The players are getting more competition games and the more games you play, the better you get and the National League has contributed immensely because they’re now playing against each other on a regular basis and at a higher level.
“We’re also training together a lot more and the training we’re doing in our camps transfers to the training within their National League teams with the sessions a lot more intense and a lot more structured than ever before.”
Gilligan says the biggest strides need to be made in developing the technical ability of the players with some of the talented youngsters coming through a good sign for the future.
“The technique side of things is where we need to improve I think. A lot of the younger players coming through technically are getting better coaching because the players are passing on the knowledge they’ve gleaned from the trainings we’ve had.”
The Trans-Tasman Cup kicks off at the ASB Sports Centre in Wellington on Friday 11 July at 8pm with the second and third matches of the series on 12 and 13 July at the same venue. The National Junior and Youth Futsal Festival will also run over the same weekend at the ASB Sports Centre.
Trans-Tasman Cup Futsal Series – Futsal Whites v Futsalroos
July 11-13
ASB Sports Centre, Kilbirnie, Wellington
Futsal Whites squad: Bakr Al-Saudi (AFF), Tai Barham (Central), Ryan Batty (Mainland), Leo Bertos (Capital), Elias Billeh (GK – AFF), Daniel Burns (Mainland), Marvin Eakins (AFF), Atta Elayyan (GK – Mainland), Jan Fischer (NFF), Hicham Kamri (NFF), Dylan Manickum (AFF), Miroslav Malivuk (Capital), Kareem Osman (Capital), Ouadhah Ragued (NFF), Jakub Sinkora (Mainland), Josh Stevenson (Central)
Coach: Scott Gilligan
Match schedule
Game 1 – Friday 11 July, 8pm
Game 2 – Saturday 12 July, 8pm
Game 3 – Sunday 13 July, 12pm
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football
For more on New Zealand football go to www.nzfootball.co.nz

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