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Futsal girls Brazil bound

The 12 player squad was selected from the New Zealand Football National University Futsal Championships held earlier this year which was won by AUT University for the second year in a row as they knocked over the University of Auckland in a thrilling game that showcased the female futsal talent in this country.
Despite the loss, the talented University of Auckland side boast seven members in the 12-strong squad with the remaining five coming from AUT University.
At the helm of the New Zealand side is Auckland Football Federations Football Development Officer, Nic Downes who also served as Head Coach for the University of Auckland and AFF’s U-19 and Women’s futsal sides.
Hannah Kraakman, Danielle Bradley, Courtney Rowse and Dayna Manak were involved with Downes at Auckland U-19 level while Shivanthi Anthony joined Downes and the quartet in the Women’s side for the New Zealand Football National Women’s Futsal League in 2015.
Downes is understandably very pleased to see five of his Auckland Women’s squad progress onto the international stage.
“I’m very happy for the girls and proud of their achievements on the court,” says Downes.
“They are passionate about futsal and have dedicated a lot of their time learning the game over the past couple of years and now their efforts have been rewarded with an opportunity to represent New Zealand at the World University Champs.”
In Brazil the team will come up against the host nation, Kazakhstan, Bolivia and Canada in pool A with the opportunity of playing Brazil evidently the most exciting of them all.
“Everyone is pretty excited that we have been put in the same pool as Brazil. It will be an amazing experience playing the host nation,” says Downes
Kraakman echoes her coach’s thoughts and is looking forward to testing her futsal skills against the side looking for their fifth-straight World Championship.
“This will be one of the most challenging games of futsal I will have ever played in,” says the 20-year old University of Auckland student.
“I am so excited to play the host country and some of the world’s best female futsal players.
“It will be a great experience and we will be able to learn a lot from them as well which will be great for all the girl’s development.”
Whilst the likes of Kraakman have played futsal competitively for a number of years, some are still relatively new to the game.
Jess Verdon, an Auckland Football National Women’s League representative, only started playing competitively this year and was delighted to be selected in the team for Brazil.
“I used to play futsal when I was younger and wanted to pick it up again. I thought University was the best place to do this,” explains Verdon.
“I was really excited to be selected. I know most of the girls in the team so it will be a really fun trip and hopefully we can win some games. I’m looking forward to developing my futsal skills against some of the best.”
The FISU World University Futsal Championships will take place from July 3-10 with the New Zealand Women’s sides first match against Canada followed by Bolivia, Kazakhstan and Brazil.
Squad: Rivalina Fuimaono, Hannah Carlsen, Dayna Manak, Jess Verdon, Mianna Laing (All AUT University) Danielle Bradley, Shivanthi Anthony, Tessa Leong, Hannah Kraakman, Hannah Robert, Courtney Rowse, Erinna Wong (All University of Auckland)
Story Credit: Steph Trowill Auckland Football Federation

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