Futsal’s popularity continues to grow in South Africa

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Saifa head Poobie Govindsamy says during the official kick-off of the season, the support, attendance, and the “positive vibe” all around were excellent.


The Pietermaritzburg-based national president of the South African Indoor Football Association (Saifa), Poobie Govindsamy says the future of the game is bright.

Judging by recent activities, excitement, and good attendance from all the provinces during the recent Futsal playoffs, the Saifa head is convinced that the game has grown leaps and bounds around the country.

According to him, during the official kick-off of the season, the support, attendance, and the “positive vibe” all around were excellent. He also indicated that the interest is also growing among SA’s top soccer brands.

“Since the start of the futsal season, there has been a lot of positive energy amongst the existing teams. In fact, new teams have been applying to join the league in various parts of the country and in most provinces, for instance, Orlando Pirates Fives who are linked to the 11 a-side Orlando Pirates in our country have already joined our league.”

“The University of Witwatersrand and the Nelson Mandela Bay University also have teams who have applied. The Giyani College of Technology also applied to be affiliated. In KwaZulu-Natal, the request to play in our league has grown from a mere five to 10 teams and we will have a problem deciding who to accept and who not to accept. It will mean therefore that there will have to be a second league running in some parts of our country”

Govindsamy also explained to Weekend Witness the format used and the meaning of the recent regional playoffs.

“The regional playoffs kicked off on the basis that this is a forerunner to the league season. The winners and runners-up in Cape Town will play the top two teams who have already qualified in Gauteng [Orlando Pirates Fives and Soweto LM] and KwaZulu-Natal [Belchester and Maritzburg Hotspurs].”

“It is really exciting to be back in action post-Covid 19, the July 2021 riots, and the floods in KwaZulu-Natal. On a personal level, I am very positive that I will achieve all that we did not do in the last three years. Many of our club administrators and players also believe that would be the case. Everybody is optimistic.”

Govindsamy also said Saifa’s team was unfortunately forced to withdraw from the Africa Cup of Nations 2020 futsal tournament on the advice of SA’s government because the tournament was hosted in the city of Laayone (Morocco), a disputed territory of the Saharawi people in Western Sahara and was a set back.

“No doubt the withdrawal of the national team dealt a devastating blow to the players and officials of our league. We not only lost an opportunity to participate in Futsal Afcon Morocco 2020 but lost out on the further opportunity to participate in the Fifa Futsal World Cup in Lithuania in September/October 2021.”

Although Futsal may be getting popular around South Africa, the financial position of the league is still not stable and consistent.

“Safa was assisting with a grant of R2 million a year and this assisted in both the administration and the running of the league. Unfortunately, the funding has come to an end and now we are back to square one where we are really in a tight financial position.”

“We will obviously have to readjust how we played the league either on a provincial or regional basis and when funding does in fact come through we will have to go back to playing the league on a national basis. I am optimistic, however, that somebody somewhere will come to the party to assist us in sponsoring the league and also to get the matches on television.”

Source of the article: The Witness 

Source of the main picture: South African Indoor Football Association

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