Game burgeoning in the South

Megan O'Malley is one of the many players who now enjoy a regular game of futsal. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Megan O'Malley is one of the many players who now enjoy a regular game of futsal. Photo: Gregor Richardson
The futsal juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon in the South.

The indoor game of football, which involves four players and a goalkeeper on each side, played over about half an hour, has more players in the South than outdoor football.

The latest statistics from Football South show there are 9800 futsal players in the South. Dunedin's Edgar Centre hosts most of the players and games.

But games are now being played all around the region.

Centres have sprung up in Timaru, Twizel, Invercargill, Wanaka and Queenstown.

The game is played in the summer, as an alternative to football.

The popularity of the sport is shown in the growth in numbers, with an increase in players of 90% in the past eight years. There are 9500 football players in the Football South area, which is from Timaru south.

Futsal is played with a ball which does not bounce much, and is on the ground most of the time.

Much of the attraction of the futsal sport was it was mostly played during the week, leaving weekends free. It was played indoors, so it was never cancelled and not a lot of people were needed to play.

It was also easy to understand and could be played at all levels of ability. Leagues are available from 5-year-olds to adults.

The game was also played at a national level and after winning the national league in 2017, the Southern United side just came up short last year, going down in the final.

Football South hopes to enter a team this year in the national youth futsal league.

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