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The Futsal National League kicks off this weekend

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Check out the squad lists and get the lowdown on each team’s prospects with the official preview below.

For the draw and more information please here: http://www.nzfootball.co.nz/COMPETITIONS/Futsal-1/Futsal-National-League

The majority of matches from the Futsal National League will be live streamed, see below for the details.

Northern Home Series: https://livestream.com/accounts/10469815/events/8381036 (Please note: Only matches from BayPark Arena, Tauranga will be live streamed)

Southern Home Series: https://livestream.com/accounts/10469815/events/8381051 (Please note: Only matches from Edgar Centre, Dunedin will be live streamed)

Northern Travel Series: https://livestream.com/accounts/10469815/events/8381056

Southern Travel Series: https://livestream.com/accounts/10469815/events/8381059

National Series 1: https://livestream.com/accounts/10469815/events/8381064

National Series 2/Finals: https://livestream.com/accounts/10469815/events/8381068

2018 Futsal National League Season Preview

Northern Comets

Position last season: Runners-up

Coach: Ouadhah RAGUED

Futsal Whites: Oban HAWKINS

Key player: Oban HAWKINS

Young player to watch: Art and Denny TWIGG

Squad: Bahram AHMADI, Pheerawit BENJATIKUL, Mitchell BROWNE, Daniel CULPAN, Felipe DE MARCHI BERNARDI, Alfie DERHAM, Justin DUNNET, Najii GHAMRI, Kyle GOOSEN, Oban HAWKINS, Aayush IYER, Shady OSMAN, Jason QUINLAN, Ouadhah RAGUED, Mohamed SABRI, Julian STEVENSON, Art TWIGG, Denny TWIGG, Nikola VELKOVSKI, Oliver WALSH, Khaled YOUSEF

Prospects: Northern were arguably the surprise package of last season’s competition in making it all the way to the final. The challenge in the new campaign will be to prove they are no one-season wonders and that there is enough talent north of the bridge to sustain a strong side over a number of years. In a boost to player-coach Ouadhah Ragued, more than half of last year’s squad has returned for another crack at the title, although the likes of Jean Claude Taharive and Sam Twigg will be significant losses. The other Twigg brothers, Art and Denny, will both be back though and there is further outstanding young talent in the form of Oban Hawkins, who has already been capped by the Futsal Whites. Complementing that youthful exuberance is the experience provided by seasoned campaigners such as Shady Osman, Bahram Ahmadi and Victor Ganescu. That blend puts the Comets in a promising position to repeat their feats of last year and maybe even go one better.

Auckland

Position last season: Semi-Finalists

Coach: Marvin EAKINS

Futsal Whites: Stephen ASHBY-PECKHAM, Elias BILLEH, Marvin EAKINS, Dylan MANICKUM, Kareem OSMAN

Key player: Dylan MANICKUM

Young player to watch: Adam LARCE-PAULSEN

Squad: Mikhail ANTAMANOV, Stephen ASHBY-PECKHAM, Jimmy BANKS, Elias BILLEH, Todd BROADHURST, Louis CORBETT, Marvin EAKINS, Eduardo ESPINOSA, Hamish GREY, Adam LARCE-PAULSEN, Dylan MANICKUM, Myron MANICKUM, Josh MARGETTS, Luke MAYNARD, Connor MCCONCHIE, Sean MCINTEE, Kareem OSMAN, Aalok PAUDEL, Declan PEACH, Thomas PICKEN, Vincent PINEAU, Christopher PREECE, Vaughan SOMERVILLE, Caleb URLICH

Prospects: Auckland have carved out a reputation as one of the most consistent sides in the competition and have always provided a title threat. They are yet to finish outside the top four and ended second on the ladder last season before falling to eventual champions Southern United in the semi-finals. That record and the depth of talent available to player-coach Marvin Eakins means anything less than a title win would be seen as a disappointment. The squad is filled with quality players and international experience but the talented youth coming through may prove the difference with Adam Larce-Paulsen and Hamish Grey looking sharp in pre-season. Caleb Urlich will be aiming to stamp his authority on the competition after moving over from Australia to pursue his dream of making the Futsal Whites squad for the 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup. Auckland also possess the player widely regarded as the best futsal exponent in the country in Dylan Manickum - although he will also have football commitments with Auckland City to contend with - while he is joined by four fellow Futsal Whites in Eakins, Stephen Ashby-Peckham, Elias Billeh and Kareem Osman.

Waikato

Position last season: N/A

Coach: Sam MASTERSON

Futsal Whites: Jordi DITFORT, Brayden LISSINGTON, Logan WISNEWSKI

Key player: Jordi DITFORT

Young player to watch: Logan WISNEWSKI

Squad: Mahmood ALFARRAJI, Waikato BALL, Andrew CLOTHIER, Elliot COOPER, Jordi DITFORT, Maxwell ERICKSEN, Joshua GALLETLY, Kaiea KARENNANG, Ryen LAWRENCE, Brayden LISSINGTON, Nicholas LOWTHER, Federico MARQUEZ, Ethan MARTIN, Raukawa RAYNEL, Jacob ROBB, Aaron SCOTT, Casey SHARPLIN, Patrick STEELE, Liam STEFFERT, Griffin TAYLOR, Jonathan TOBIAS, Benjamin WALLACE, Logan WALLACE, Kyle WISNEWSKI, Logan WISNEWSKI

Prospects: With the WaiBOP team of previous years having split in two, it’s difficult to know what to expect from the newly-formed entities but Waikato will be the more familiar of the pair. The majority of the WaiBOP players from last season are forming this squad and will be targeting the semi-finals after missing out by only a point in 2017. Some real quality will take the court in Waikato’s debut campaign, including a pair of the country’s brightest prospects in Jordi Ditfort and Logan Wisnewski while fellow Futsal White Brayden Lissington and Kaiea Karennang will provide some much-needed experience. The side will be coached by Sam Masterson - a previous playing stalwart but unable to feature this season due to a long-term injury - and he has sprung somewhat of a selection surprise in his coaching bow at this level, luring former All White Aaron Scott and Federico Marquez to the small-sided code. Both played for Hamilton Wanderers in the ISPS Handa Premiership last season and there will be much interest in how they adapt to the fast-paced, technique-based game of futsal.

Bay of Plenty

Position last season: N/A

Coach: Joe DIXON

Futsal Whites: None

Key player: Dominic O’SULLIVAN

Young player to watch: Jay SILCOCK

Squad: Vinicius AZEVEDO, Zachary BELL, Ellis BREADMORE, Andrew COOPER, Kelvin CUNLIFFE, Adam DAVIDSON, Harris EDLIN, Ryan FOORD, Jose GONZALEZ, Benjamin JACKSON, Alexander MCGREGOR, Dominic O’SULLIVAN, Leonardo PARDINI, Ryan PEDDLE, Vincent PHIRUN, Jay SILCOCK, Mario Vinicius SOARES RAMOS, Dean STYLES, Scott WALPOLE

Prospects: With most of the playing group from the previous WaiBOP team set to line up for Waikato, the prospects of Bay of Plenty are difficult to assess. Having a team of their own in the national league is a huge development opportunity for the Bay of Plenty region but this is likely to be more of a transitional year as players are introduced to this level for the first time. The fresh faces will be eager to make a mark on the competition and they do have some experience to guide them, particularly in the form of Dominic O’Sullivan, who was the most capped player for WaiBOP and has played over 70 national league matches. His leadership will be valuable both on and off the court and he will be joined in that regard by Andrew Cooper, a well-respected local footballer who is still making the transition to futsal but is a good leader. Brazilian pivot Leo Pardini has a few seasons under his belt for WaiBOP and provides a skilful goalscoring threat while Jay Silcok is a promising young talent whose pace and physical approach is likely to cause opposition defences problems.

Central

Position last season: N/A

Coach: Scott MUDGWAY

Futsal Whites: None

Key player: Adam COWAN

Young player to watch: Aidan ROBSON

Squad: Charlie BAYLY, Joshua BOWIE, Nicholas CARRICK, Nathan COOKSLEY, Adam COWAN, Joshua CREMEN, Tesco-Frederick GRUNWALD, Gabriel HURFORD LORENZO, Blair LANKSHEAR, Michael MASON, Zachary MOXHAM, Liam PERCY-FYSH, Benjamin RAVENWOOD, Joel RESTIEAUX, Daniel ROBINSON, Aidan ROBSON, Liam SHACKLETON, Joel SPURGEON, Scott MUDGWAY

Prospects: Like Waikato and Bay of Plenty, Central are somewhat of an unknown quantity as they are a newly-formed outfit. Their formation has come about in opposing circumstances though, with the previous Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay entities joining forces. The idea is to ensure only the best players are involved at a national level so, in theory, Central will be expecting to improve on last season’s efforts of Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu, who finished sixth and seventh respectively. Despite the new-look nature of the team, the charge will be again be led by a couple of well-known names in veterans Adam Cowan and Nathan Cooksley while a mixture of talented youth from both regions will be looking to make their mark. The jewel in the crown of those coming through is Aidan Robson, who has played for New Zealand at U-18 level, while Liam Shackleton is another young player worth keeping a close watch on. Coach Scott Mudgway has the option of influencing the action directly from the court after also being listed as a player.

Capital

Position last season: Minor premiers

Coach: Callum HOLMES

Futsal Whites: Lucas DA SILVA, Luc SAKER

Key player: Lucas DA SILVA

Young player to watch: Brayan HEREDIA

Squad: Grant BAKER, Sean BERESFORD, Alexander BRODIE, Lucas DA SILVA, Brayan HEREDIA, Jherson HEREDIA, Toby HUNT, Shingo INA, Shannon LUCAS, Mohsen MADDAH, Miroslav MALIVUK, Enrico MEIRELLES, Jake NEILL, Michael PLIM, Khalid RAZOUK, Luc SAKER, Jonathan STEELE, Jerram TUCK, Thomas WITHNALL, Sam WRIGHT

Prospects: Capital lost their way at the worst possible time last season, storming to the minor premiership with a seven-point lead over nearest rivals Auckland but then suffering a shock loss to Northern in the semi-finals. Having looked odds on to claim the title, they will have been severely stung by their failure to complete the job and will therefore be highly motivated to avoid a similar fate this season. In terms of quality and star power, Capital are rivalled only by fellow title contenders Auckland and their sights will therefore be set on nothing less than claiming the championship. Coach Callum Holmes has put his charges through an intensive pre-season build-up and they have been training for months. He has a wealth of top-class talent to make the most of that meticulous preparation, at the forefront of which are current Futsal Whites Lucas Da Silva and Luc Saker. Former international Miroslav Malivuk and Shingo Ina will also be key figures while Brayan Heredia, Sam Wright and Michael Plim are among the most promising of the emerging prospects.

Canterbury United Dragons

Position last season: Eighth

Coach: Ronan NAICKER

Futsal Whites: Benji LAPSLIE, Thomas MCGOWAN, Hamish MITCHELL

Key player: Thomas MCGOWAN

Young player to watch: Benji LAPSLIE

Squad: Mostafa ABDELHALIM, Fadi AL SEENAWI, Matthew BERGIN, Charles BOOT, Benjamin CAMERON, Lewis CUMISKEY, Atta ELAYYAN, Cameron EMBERTON, Lewis GUY, Hemi INNES, Alex KEDZLIE, Benji LAPSLIE, Sam LAPSLIE, Thomas MCGOWAN, Hamish MITCHELL, Shaun REGALDO, James TOOHEY, Suhail TOUBAT, Shannen VAILU’U, James VALLANCE, Jack WOOLCOTT, Ezequiel XAVIER DE FREITAS JUNIOR

Prospects: The 2016 champions were brought crashing back down to earth last season, earning only two wins as they picked up the dreaded wooden spoon. Quite how they went from winning the title to finishing last is difficult to fathom and coach Ronan Naicker will have spent much of the off season plotting a return to form. He will look to do so with a similar group of players as Canterbury have kept their core in place from the previous campaign. All will be intent on climbing up the ladder to become title challengers once more but even a mid-table finish would be a significant step up from last season’s struggles. The talented young trio of Benji Lapslie, Thomas McGowan and Matthew Bergin will be central to those hopes while Hamish Mitchell and Ezequiel Xavier De Freitas Junior will also be key figures. Given the strength of the some of the other title contenders, bringing the trophy back to Canterbury will be difficult but the Dragons have pulled it off before so can’t be ruled out of the running.

Southern United

Position last season: Champions

Coach: Darren HART

Futsal Whites: Michael SANNUM

Key player: Michael SANNUM

Young player to watch: Kasam ALI

Squad: Kasam ALI, Danniel BOCATIOS, Daniel DE SOUZA, Michael DONOVAN, James GOVAN, Darren HART, Carlos HERRMANN, Reid HULLEMAN, Fraser HUNTER, Tennessee KINGHORN, Allan MCBRIDE, Benjamin O’FARRELL, Thomas PETERSEN, Chris SANNUM, Michael SANNUM, Liam SERCOMBE, Cameron SINCLAIR, Conrad SINCLAIR, Arnon TAPP, Lewis WALL

Prospects: The southerners raised a few eyebrows in claiming their first ever title last season but, in reality, their success was no overnight sensation and was the culmination of years of hard work. Southern have several talented individuals but coach Darren Hart has instilled a genuine team ethos and the result is a group that stands out as being greater than the sum of its parts. That sense of togetherness allowed Southern to earn the title at the expense of their more star-studded rivals and the challenge now is to prove it was no fluke by going back-to-back. They will again turn to the collectiveness of their unit but there is plenty of individual talent opposing sides will need to keep an eye on. The Queenstown-based Brazilian pair of Carlos Herrmann and Daniel de Souza are back to provide a talismanic presence again while Michael Sannum will look to continue inspiring his team mates after receiving the competition MVP last time around. Fraser Hunter offers a safe pair of hands at the back while Reid Hulleman is another key figure. There is also a group of highly-talented teenagers coming through, including Kasam Ali and Lewis Wall, the latter of whom is just 16.

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