Malta will stage its first UEFA Futsal Cup mini-tournament when ZC Excess Futsal host preliminary round Group B from Monday, casting a spotlight on the growth of the game on the island.
The Cottonera Sports Complex in Cospicua will stage the games as Excess, Finnish champions FS Ilves Tampere, Denmark's BGA Futsal and KF Tirana of Albania compete for a place in the main round. Excess club president Edward Psaila told UEFA.com "Winning the Maltese futsal title was a dream come true for my club. Now it is time to work harder in order to see that this forthcoming UEFA Futsal Cup mini-tournament will be a huge success."
Tournament director Mark Borg added: "This is a first for the game of futsal in Malta. A big event like this can be regarded as another milestone for our club after lifting the Malta futsal title at the end of last season, and the setting up of the club's own futsal school on the island. Our club is striving hard to promote the game of futsal on the island, bringing about all the benefits as obtained by developed futsal countries such as Brazil and Spain."
Excess set up their futsal academy in January, led by player-coach Florin Anton, who was the Malta Football Association (MFA)'s futsal player of the year last season. The MFA itself has government backing for its programme of futsal festivals at primary and secondary school level, and the body showed their support for the sport last year when high-profile former Netherlands coach Vic Hermans took over the national team.
Hermans said: "I am pleased about the work done since I took over as futsal national coach a year ago. I do feel my work is being appreciated. Futsal is an ever-growing game, especially in Europe. Since the first UEFA futsal tournament in 1996, in which less than 20 countries participated, the game has come a long way and now almost all member associations are practicing this ever-popular game.
I am sure that this forthcoming UEFA Futsal Cup mini-tournament will be another success and Malta will see the benefit of the game developing further."
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