New Zealand’s Dylan Manickum is confident the Futsal Whites have what it takes to qualify for the FIFA Futsal World Cup by claiming supremacy at the OFC Futsal Nations Cup tournament which gets underway in New Caledonia today.
After going so close in 2016, Manickum believes that the Kiwis are capable of ending the Solomon Islands’ dominance in Oceania.
The AFF Futsal and Auckland City FC talisman said it’s his dream to represent his country at next year’s World Cup in Lithuania.
“I think in the past we’ve always had a good shot, I think we’ve always been competitive, we’ve been unlucky a couple of years not to make the final or get beaten but I think this year we’ve worked really hard to make sure we are in a position where we can give it a good crack,” he insisted.
The 27-year-old, whose playing career included a brief spell in Europe with Murexin AllStars last year, is one of the most experienced players in current New Zealand squad.
Manickum had earned his 50th international cap for New Zealand during an international tournament in China last year.
“I started playing when I was about 13 and obviously played all the way till I was 18 when I had my first selections for the Futsal Whites,” he said.
“So I’ve been playing for the Futsal Whites since 2010 and I’ve also been playing national league since that started up in New Zealand as well.
The midfielder is adamant there is plenty of talent coming through the New Zealand futsal which bodes well for their World Cup qualifying campaign.
“With the younger players and us maturing as players as well, people around my age and older, I think we do have a good shot this year,” he insisted.
“Hopefully I can contribute with good performances, obviously hope to score some goals and provide assists, just generally play well in defence and attack.
“I think if I can perform and if everyone else can perform we will have a good shot,” Manickum added.
New Zealand will kick off their OFC Futsal Nations Cup campaign against Group A rivals American Samoa at 3 pm (local time) on Monday 28 October in New Caledonia.