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Futsal widens appeal with national championship

Known as the Challenge of the Champions the four day competition will see teams from existing leagues from the Vanuatu Football Federation’s member associations come together for four full on days of futsal.
VFF Futsal and Beach Soccer Development Officer Louis Dominique is also chairman of the organising committee and says the event will help build a competitive base for the game in Vanuatu.
“When I joined VFF last year in March I began working on a long term futsal development strategic plan that would put emphasis on OFC’s commitment to developing futsal in the region,” Dominique says.
“The goals of this competition is to boost the level of local futsal leagues in the islands and bring about more challenging competitions. This event will be a great opportunity for local players to show their capabilities as futsal players.”
There are five separate futsal leagues in VFF’s member associations; Luganville Futsal League in the Luganville FA, Buluba Futsal League and Haulua TVL Futsal League are organised within the Penama FA, WSB Futsal League is in the Shefa FA and Port Vila Futsal in Port Vila FA. The total number of registered players participating in these leagues is 1,200.
Each of the five leagues will be represented this week with 12 teams set to take part, six from host city Port Vila, three from Shefa, two from Penama and one from Luganville.
Dominique says the competition will follow a two-stage league format which will get underway with four pools in a round robin. The top two teams in each pool will advance into the quarter-finals and the winners get into semi and then final.
As well as providing an opportunity for players to continue developing a local level, Dominique believes the championship will provide a chance for talented up-and-comers to break into the national futsal squad.
“The Futsal Gideons were selected last year as preparation towards the 2015 OFC World Cup qualifier. However we will also be scouting eligible players to join the Gideons training sessions which begin on February 3rd ahead of the 2014 OFC Championship Invitational.”
The Challenge of the Champions gets underway in Port Vila today and will conclude on Friday, 31 January with the grand final scheduled for kick-off at 4.30pm.
For more on Vanuatu football go to www.vanuafoot.vu

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