In the first of our exclusive player diaries from Kuala Lumpur, we hear from Marc Canham.
Whilst the England Futsal squad are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the KL World 5's Futsal competition, we will be hearing from several players throughout the week as they bring you their exclusive thoughts on all manner of things from training, games and the hectic schedule in place. The series starts off with Marc Canham, who speaks of the gruelling trip east and the early hours after the squad's arrival.
Well, here I am sat in my hotel room in Kuala Lumpur, the weather is very hot and humid, and it was a bit of a shock to the system coming out of the airport into to such conditions compared to England where it rains, rains and never stops!
I have to say after being on a number of trips with the Futsal team over the last few years, travel day is always the most stressful part of the trip but it has been a good opportunity to get to know the new lads.
It’s been a hectic weekend so far, with many of us playing games for our respective clubs but we’re all now looking forward to the week ahead and what I’m sure will be a fantastic experience that we can build upon for the World Cup Qualifiers in Hungary next month.
Unfortunately I managed to get to the airport late, so the lads had to carry all of the bags once the kit had been delivered, which they haven’t failed to let me forget all the way here ever since!
We had a long flight and it was imperative that we began our preparation for what will be a demanding programme over the next seven to eight days. With travelling so far east and with little time to prepare and acclimatise for our first game, our exercise scientist Dawn Scott provided us all with a flight plan that would enable us to adjust to the new time zones. This involved us limiting sleep in-flight for only two hours and attempting to stay awake throughout a long day despite jumping forwards eight hours.
Not only did we have a long flight, but upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur, we embarked on an hour long coach journey that enabled the lads to see some of the fantastic buildings and architecture that is evident within this great city. It is clear to see straight away that the tournament is set to be on a scale that many of us, if not all, won’t have experienced before in either our football or Futsal careers.
A clear indication of the tournament’s prestige was when we arrived at the five star hotel, which revealed an amazing view overlooking Kuala Lumpur’s very own twin towers. You only have to look out of the hotel window to realise that we are involved in something special this week. Upon arrival at the hotel, check-in was a bit rushed and it was vital that we replenished our carbohydrate stores from a long and debilitating travel day, despite being fed like kings on our flight!
If the first meal at the hotel was a sign of things to come for the rest of the week then we are all in for treat, because the food was first class and the service and welcome we have had so far from the hosts has been second to none.
After dinner, we had our first team meeting where we fully introduced to the new members of the staff group. Due to being away quite frequently over the last few months, the staff group has been changing on a regular basis but from a players’ perspective we could not ask for a better support staff, and they encourage and advise us on all issues from sleep patterns, providing us with telephone cards to ring home , all the way to the real business and that is giving ourselves the best chance to perform against and learn from some of the best Futsal teams in the world.
Over the course of the meeting, we discussed our objectives of the tournament and as ever with such a diverse group of players, some of whom have years of experience compared to some who have never played, it is important we all stick together and be prepared to learn more about the game of Futsal and also to perform to the best of our ability whilst looking to improve in every game we play.
With myself being involved within the England set up for the last four years, it was a privilege to be involved in what was a historic win in December against Greece. We, as players, are desperately trying to build on that success and try to drive the English game of Futsal forward. There is no better place to be at this moment than in Kuala Lumpur playing against some of the top teams in the world and doing it with the Three Lions on your chest. It also gives us all a chance to become a more cohesive unit for February.
Following on from several good performances in Turkey, Bath and Georgia with a fairly consistent set of players, I don’t think it was a coincidence that we got our first win against Greece in December. The cohesiveness we built over those few months before Christmas definitely helped in our bid for our first win and hopefully this trip where we will be living out of each other’s pockets for the next eight days will do much towards the development of our team ethos.
I and all the lads cannot wait for everything to kick off and as long as we can look after ourselves and keep everyone fit I’m sure we can have a successful trip.
Hope you enjoy our updates from KL and are cheering us on loudly from the UK.