Passion for foosball leads to new club

If foosball catches on in New Zealand half as quickly as Paul Szyszka can fire the ball into the goal, he will be delighted.

The zoology lecturer at the University of Otago can rocket the ball at the target and he is keen to teach other people from Dunedin tips and tricks.

The founder of Foosball Dunedin — understood to be New Zealand’s first foosball club — has searched for people who share his passion.

Dr Szyszka did not have much luck initially but his enthusiasm resulted in seven competition-level tables being sent from Germany to Dunedin free of charge.

"While many Kiwis come in touch with foosball as children, few have ever played on an official competition foosball table, which allows faster yet more controlled playing than on a common table," he said.

Foosball, or table soccer, is popular in Europe.

Paul Szyszka has started a foosball club in Dunedin. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Paul Szyszka has started a foosball club in Dunedin. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH

Dr Szyszka and his partner Steffi Neupert, also a keen foosballer, moved from Germany to Dunedin in early 2019.

"We found nobody really plays here," Dr Szyszka said.

But they asked around, which

resulted in contact with German Foosball Federation vice-president Marcus Schulz and table manufacturer Leonhart.

Competition tables have been set up in the Unipol Recreation Centre in Dunedin.

Dr Szyszka said players could develop their skills quickly but the learning curve never ended.

Zoology student Melita Busch said the activity was a good stress-reliever.

"Everyone has fun and they really get into it."

Gatherings will be held on Tuesday evenings and the couple hope young people will get involved.

"Foosball is a great team sport for which you do not need to be athletically gifted to play, and it provides heaps of entertainment without a hangover," Dr Szyszka said.

"Ultimately, we want to develop a New Zealand-wide foosball league and compete at international tournaments."

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