Grassroots futsal in Zim

Former PSL player Philip Zulu, who started a futsal programme for juniors in the United Kingdom, has extended the programme to his homeland as he seeks to uplift the standards of football.

Philip Zulu
Philip Zulu

The former Black Aces player told The Zimbabwean early this week that he had introduced a grassroots programme in Harare and surrounding areas.

Futsal is a variant of football that is played on a smaller field and mainly indoors. Its name comes from the Portuguese term futebol de salão, which can be translated as “hall football”. It was changed to the Spanish name fútbol sala in 1985 and is now officially and internationally accepted.

Unlike some other forms of indoor football, the game is played on a hard court surface delimited by lines; walls or boards are not used. It is also played with a smaller ball with less bounce than a regular football due to the surface of the pitch.

“We have conducted our first futsal training sessions in Highfield Zimbabwe Grounds, Mbare Stoddard Hall, Mufakose Stadium, Glen Norah Kundayi Primary School,” said Zulu.

“We are recruiting and registering young players aged 7-16 years from grassroots and schools as we seek to transform the way football is coached and developed through good scouting networks. We have prepared comprehensive packages of the modern trends of youth and junior coaching modules that seek to enhance good technical abilities, quick feet and movement, precise passing and creativity,” he said.

Young players are introduced to international soccer techniques through futsal. “Our syllabus is mainly focused on the Samba (South American), Tiki Taka (Spanish) and African Street football, guided and inspired by our beliefs of the Total Football philosophy,” added Zulu.

“We will strive to educate and train young people in key areas of ball manipulation, fancy footwork, quick feet and movement, precise passing and creativity under intensive programs. We work closely with most organisations to try and introduce futsal leagues in schools and at grassroots levels so that talent identification and nurturing programs can be effected at the earliest of opportunity.

“Our success in England, where I have been based for years, has been widely-acclaimed in most quarters, as the majority of our players have managed to progress into professional football. Many of our youngsters come to join our Super Eagles Futsal, where they develop to become more polished players technically and skills wise. Our base is in Harare, but we will consolidate all our efforts locally so as to help improve grassroots football.”

Zulu possesses a Level 3 youth module and Uefa ‘B’ licences. He has also been heavily involved in coaching in the European country. In 2006, his futsal team in UK reached the final of the local Parkfield Suite Cup in their first year in the Red Triangle.

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