Fiji Sports

New Caledonia set for big test

Written By : FijiSun Sports Desk. Host Fiji faces a strong New Caledonia Futsal team in tonight’s Oceania World Cup qualifier made up of players who all specialize in Futsal.
07 Jun 2008 12:00

Written By : FijiSun Sports Desk. Host Fiji faces a strong New Caledonia Futsal team in tonight’s Oceania World Cup qualifier made up of players who all specialize in Futsal. Coached by Eric Michalak and assisted by Wema Alexandre, the coaching staff wanted New Caledonia players to decide which form of the game they wanted to be involved in and from the squad that arrived in Suva last night, all chose to play Futsal.
“We have to take this match seriously because we are playing in their country and a lot of spectators. We are going to play a side which will be backed by their spectators. We are aware this will earn a spot in the World Cup and also another reason to improve football in the country,’’ Alexandre said. Alexandre has been with the side since September 2007 and said that the team has trained together a lot and played warm up matches against local teams from New Caledonia. The New Caledonian Futsal competition is split into North and South competitions with one league in each. In the South there are two divisions (1st and 2nd) and in the North there are two districts (East and West). Alexandre said that the team was only able to train together once a month for most of the year because the distances are so large between the districts.
“I cannot speak about our chances because we haven’t had preparation matches with other countries. Every team is ready for this tournament and we have to take each match as it comes.”
Michalak and Alexandre were both instrumental figures in developing Futsal in New Caledonia.
“I started to develop Futsal in the North around 2004 and Eric did the same,” Alexandre said.
“The game is quicker, the ground is very different but technically it is very similar. You can very easily transfer football skills into Futsal.”
Alexandre compared Futsal to Handball, a sport that is very popular in New Caledonia and across Europe in the way it very quickly transitions from defence to attack. Alexandre said that the Vodafone Arena in Suva was bigger and better than anything he has played on in New Caledonia.
“The complex is unreal, this one can hold 5,000 where as the biggest one in New Caledonia can only hold 500, my players will be impressed.”
There is a wider range of experience in the New Caledonia squad with the youngest member 21 and the oldest 34,” he said.



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