As part of the strategic development plan for futsal in the Pacific, Oceania Football Confederation hosted a coaching education course in Auckland.

The six-day training course finished on Monday and coincided with the first OFC Futsal Champions League, won by Kooline from the Solomon Islands.

Coach educators from eight of OFC’s member associations attended the training opportunity.

Paul Toohey, Futsal Development Officer for OFC, said the gathering was the first of its kind since 2014.

“The course was all about helping the coach educators with their work for when they go back to their own countries delivering the member association futsal coach education courses,” Toohey said.

The growth of futsal in Oceania during the past 12 years has been significant, evidenced by the development at club level, which led to the inaugural OFC Futsal Champions League.

“We really encourage the member association’s players to play futsal as young as possible. Even the kids who have football as their main focus, we want kids in our region to experience football, futsal, and beach soccer, if possible,” Toohey said.

“We are doing pretty well but because futsal is growing so much in South America, Asia, and Europe, for us to keep pace we really need to keep our eye on the ball.”

As part of the coaching education course, participants studied the various tactics employed by teams in the OFC Futsal Champions League and reviewed them.

From there a report will be created and passed along to the coach educators to further enhance the levels of knowledge they can share.

New Caledonian national futsal coach Juliano Schmeling, who has also overseen the Solomon Islands, first came to New Zealand in 2011 to help with the development of the sport.

Following stints in Australia and China, he also works as a consultant to OFC for futsal.

“It’s growing, it’s improving, they are playing more,” he said of futsal in Oceania. “They’re going in the right direction.”

Long-term, Toohey had big aspirations for futsal in the Pacific.

“In our strategic plan we talk about a team from OFC getting to the quarter-finals of the FIFA Futsal World Cup by 2028.”