Twenty-seven coaches have gained their OFC Senior Futsal C License qualification over the past five years – an achievement considering the ongoing border restrictions in the region recently caused by COVID-19.

The coaches originate from New Caledonia (two), Fiji (one), Vanuatu (four), Solomon Islands (seven) and New Zealand (13).

Courses held in New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands were facilitated on a more hybrid approach as OFC course facilitators Paul Toohey and Juliano Schmeling were unable to attend in person.

This meant courses were led and overlooked by futsal staff members in each Member Association before coach assessments were done individually and online by Schmeling.

In New Zealand, courses and assessments were conducted in person under the guidance of local educators, with Schmeling also participating in the course held in Napier in May this year.

OFC Futsal Coach Educator and now Fiji-based men’s national futsal team coach Jerry Sam led the Solomon Islands course and highlighted its importance for futsal development in the region.

“The C License provides a starting point for coaches and creates an understanding of the coaching process. In order to be successful, coaches must understand how to plan, prepare, conduct and evaluate their sessions and the course provides that guidance,” Sam said.

“The course in the Solomon Islands helped participants to gain more knowledge on futsal, and I enjoyed meeting different coaches and learning from them.

“In the Solomon Islands futsal is popular, kids are playing in their backyards and I’m inspired to help create opportunities for them.”

Former Vanuatu national team captain and current Development Officer Ben Hungai was one of the first of the new group to be accredited and participated in the course to build his personal capacity.

“I wanted to learn more about the game I have so much passion for,” Hungai said.

“I learned how to create environments for young players to thrive in and how to better resolve challenges players may face.

“I now want to become an even more experienced futsal coach and role model for players and coaches in Vanuatu.”