Futsal is growing fast - and you can see why in Chichester

Futsal action at the University of Chichester sports dome / Picture by Jordan Colborne
Futsal action at the University of Chichester sports dome / Picture by Jordan Colborne

Futsal is one the fastest growing participation indoor sports in the world. An estimated 60 million people now participate regularly in the game.

This small-sided version of football, which originated in South America in the 1930s, is played between teams of five players on a hard court with a smaller, heavier, low-bounce ball. It’s a sport that encourages skills in dribbling, decision-making, touch, technique and creativity.

The futsal World Cup that started back in the 1980s was followed by the first European Championships in the 1990s and Home Nations futsal events – the most recent one hosted in November 2018 at the Newry Leisure Centre in Northern Ireland, won by England.

Futsal has made an impact at the University of Chichester. Last year its women’s futsal team were Premier South winners. This elite division in British Universities and Colleges Sport featured teams, among others, from Bath, Bristol and Cardiff Met.

In 2017-2018 the men’s futsal team were runners-up in the South Eastern Conference Cup. This year a second men’s futsal team has started competing in BUCS competitions.

The men’s futsal teams headed into the Christmas break top of their leagues. The ones extended their unbeaten start to the season with an emphatic 11-3 victory over Brighton.

Students have mixed sporting fortunes
Chichester were 7-0 winners when the sides met at the Eastbourne Sports Centre on the opening day of the season and got off to a flyer in this reverse fixture when Marcus Ball scored after patient build-up play. Ball doubled his tally moments later before Joss Clark made it 3-0 with a smart finish.

Hamido Jalo might have added a fourth after a super piece of skill but his clever flick on the turn came back off the bar. Ball then swept in a cross from the right for his hat-trick.

It wasn’t all Chichester though. A fierce drive from the visitors crashed into the side-netting and keeper Mark Waters got a strong glove on another low shot, turning the ball out for a corner. Jake Boon put the hosts further ahead, tucking away a precision pass from Jalo.

Clark’s second came after some neat inter-play just before Ball netted his fourth when he got a touch on Emmett Dunn’s shot. And Chichester went into half-time 8-0 up as Clark completed his hat-trick.

Adam Rayner scored the goal of the match just after the interval with a fierce strike into the top corner before Dunn bagged his twelfth and thirteenth goals of the season. Brighton pulled back a couple of consolation goals late on as the home side took their foot off the gas.

Men’s futsal president James Callnon said: “Doing the double over Brighton is a great result for us. The club has grown substantially in the last few months and that is a credit to everyone involved both on and off the court. Not only are the men’s futsal ones and twos in promotion pushes but both teams are in the quarter finals of the BUCS South Eastern Conference Cup. The club has also entered a team into the FA Futsal Cup and we’ve got through the qualifying rounds to the first round proper.”

Men’s and women’s futsal, along with the other university teams, are back in league and cup action in the New Year.