With a place at next year’s FIFA Futsal World Cup on offer, the stakes couldn’t be higher for Oceania’s eight aspirants when the OFC Futsal Nations Cup 2019 tournament gets underway on 28 October in New Caledonia.
On the back of strong development programmes across our region the upcoming competition promises to reaffirm the sport’s special place in Oceania’s football landscape.
As some of the biggest names in futsal join forces with some of the Pacific’s biggest stars from the 11-aside version of the game fans can expect plenty of quality and thrilling entertainment on display.
Those who show up at Noumea’s L’Arène du Sud and those who tune into OFC TV’s livestream will be treated to four games a day over five exciting match days.
OFC Competitions Director Chris Kemp believes the level of competition will reflect the prize on offer.
“The desire to make the World Cup is very high, it’s the pinnacle of futsal so the players and teams will have all the motivation in their quest to book their tickets to Lithuania,” he said.
OFC Futsal Development Officer Paul Toohey is also confident the tournament will be one of most competitive OFC events ever.
“With a number of realistic title contenders in the mix, it’s impossible to pick a favourite so the whole futsal community will be on the edge of their seats,” he said.
“Whoever prevails in Noumea will be a worthy champion because this Nations Cup will be a closely contested and tough tournament.
“It has been very encouraging to see the commitment the MA’s have made to the preparations of the teams for this important tournament,” Toohey added.
Tournament debutants Tonga and defending champions Solomon Islands will face each other in next Monday’s competition opener, before American Samoa embark on their maiden Futsal Nations Cup campaign against heavyweights New Zealand.
Fiji and Tahiti will meet in the third match on the opening day, followed by Vanuatu’s meeting with hosts New Caledonia to bring a busy day of futsal to an end.