Little more than 1,000 people live in the west Iceland fishing village of Olafsvik – but later this year they will have a team to cheer in UEFA competition.
Víkingur Ólafsvík's football side have stolen the headlines after two straight promotions earned them a top-flight debut, following on from reaching the Icelandic Cup semi-finals in 2010. Now they have shown their prowess indoors as well, the same squad of players beating Valur Reykjavík to win their first national futsal title – ensuring a berth in the 2013/14 UEFA Futsal Cup.
Having lost in the previous two finals, Víkingur had been determined to put it right. "They say 'third time lucky', the hunger was there for sure and it had to happen this time," captain Gudmundur Steinn Hafsteinsson said.
"In each of the previous two finals we got more futsal experience and since our training pitch is more or less frozen over in winter, our facilities in town during the winter only allow us to play indoor football, which is very similiar to futsal. We have learned to play slick indoor football, not trying too much individually, so we decided to make the most of it and keep up high pressure in all the games."
Though their indoor training pitch measures only 24m x 15m, around two thirds of the length and width of a standard futsal court, they have shown the benefits. But now in 2013 they face the challenge of both competing with Iceland's best in football and, come late August, the UEFA Futsal Cup preliminary round.
"For me, getting to the top division is part of a process and a step towards making Víkingur Ólafsvík a big club," business studies student Hafsteinsson said. "It will help us in the league, winning the futsal, and I am ready to say our confidence is strong – there is no task too big for us to tackle.
"We will go into the summer with joy in our game and we know it is up to us players to do well, plus the whole town is behind us. Last season we had buses full of locals following the team away.
"We have not discussed so much our goal in the futsal games in Europe. Our coach said it will be fun but at the same time we will be in the midst of the football season in Iceland and we have to be careful to fulfil our duties there. We will see – anything can happen."
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