The FA National Futsal Play-Off Finals,
27 - 28 September 2008,
Loughborough University Arena.
Click here for all the results
Helvecia won the first ever FA National Futsal League championship on Sunday evening, defeating Ipswich Wolves 9 -3 in the final game of a compelling Play-Off tournament.
Having already won The FA Futsal Cup earlier this year, Helvecia completed a domestic double with a commanding performance over a gallant but exhausted Wolves side. Helvecia’s victory assured them of a place in the 2009 UEFA Futsal Cup competition and a prize fund of £2500.
The Final served to emphasise the qualities of a team that draws its strength from the London Brazilian community. Whilst Tournament Golden Boot winner Raoni Medina (left) with 11 goals exhibited the skills and finishing that we have come to expect from Brazilian strikers, this was matched with high levels of fitness and strong aggressive defending throughout the team.
Coach Ronaldo Negrao deployed the most offensive tactics of all six teams represented at the Play-offs by playing with a ‘flying goalkeeper’ throughout the tournament, illustrating his confidence in the team’s ability to retain possession and make best use of the extra outfielder to open up opposition defences.
The Wolves will consider themselves unlucky in that they had to face a confident Helvecia team having won their own Semi-Final only an hour earlier 7–6 against a tenacious London White Bear team.
This game went into extra time and finally finished after 2 hours and 28 minutes – probably the longest Futsal match ever to have been staged in this country. Whilst Ipswich Wolves were able to match Helvecia in a first half which finished 3-3, they inevitably fatigued as the game progressed. Helvecia extended their lead and their tiring opponents were unable to respond to the rampant Brazilians.
With the final whistle Helvecia celebrated with their noisy supporters as only Brazilians can and The FA’s representatives next year in the UEFA Cup will travel with samba drums.
In the third-fourth Play-Off, London White Bear also exhibited the energy-sapping effects of their epic Semi-Final struggle against Ipswich Wolves by losing surprisingly to Birmingham Tigers 1-2. The Tigers will be delighted with their third placed finish, with Peter Vallance’s four goals against Manchester Futsal Club a highlight.
Neither Tranmere Victoria nor Manchester Futsal Club deserved the wooden spoon after playing some attractive, positive Futsal and only narrowly losing crucial games.
The gap between them and the higher placed sides is marginal but they will spend the close season considering how this can be reduced if they are going to come to terms with their opponents of Portuguese, Brazilian and Eastern European origin. Tranmere Victoria defeated Manchester 3-2, although Manchester could at least console themselves with the Tournament Fair Play Trophy.
See all of the results from the competition in FULL TIME by clicking here.