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Growing interest from clubs, encouraging results from the French team, support from the Federation… Pierre Jacky, French Head Coach of the Blues, sees a bright future for futsal.
In-office since 2004, Pierre Jacky praises the policy currently pursued by the French Football Federation. Well aware that there is still a long way to go, the coach is convinced that French futsal will enter a new era. On condition that he becomes professional.
Between qualifying for the Euro, participating in the Elite round, and the arrival of Ricardinho, Messi of futsal, in Asnières, can we say that France is on the verge of becoming a stronghold of futsal?
Very slowly, yes. We started behind many nations in our development, but we are becoming a country recognized around the world. The development of futsal is a major focus of Noël Le Graët [president of the French Football Federation]. We will capitalize on current results by preparing for the future through high schools that will soon form the basis of the France team of tomorrow. The Federation has also introduced a club license [this is an endowment of 20,000 euros allocated each year to D1 clubs which meet a certain number of criteria such as the creation of youth sections], in order to involve the French teams. It is a model similar to that of women’s football, for which the France team is now one of the best nations in the world. If all goes well, we expect the same results within ten years.
What is missing from the France team to continue being competitive at the highest level?
The professionalization of futsal is the next development needed for the sport. We were the only amateur country to participate in the Elite round of the world cup qualifications. The lack of training means that the key positions in futsal – goalkeeper, pivot – are not sufficiently filled. We also need structured clubs and high-level competitions in the country. The recent rise of the Asnières club, coupled with the arrival of Ricardinho, is excellent news. The interest generated by the teams in our championship shows that we are moving in the right direction. Both in the French team and in clubs. Under these conditions, the level of French players can only increase.
What aspects of futsal should young people be trained in?
Futsal is a very tactical game based on a multitude of combinations. Unlike 11-a-side football, the pitch is very small and everything happens in front of the goal. Players cannot hide and must stay focused at all times. It is also a transitional sport that requires great technicality due to the smooth surface and the use of a heavier ball to have less bounce. All of these qualities are learned over time and should be instilled as early as possible. We absolutely have to take inspiration from what Spain and Brazil are doing, their young people practice futsal before joining 11-a-side football. In France, it’s the opposite. Take the example of Neymar, before he was 14, he only played futsal in Santos. Our objective is therefore to create similar sectors in France, this is all the more important as the current pool is quite small. Half of the players in our league come from abroad.
The culture of 11-a-side football is deeply rooted in France. How to get young people to turn to futsal?
They are already doing it. At the National Union of School Sport, futsal is the first sport for boys. Sport-study sections are being created all over France. Professional 11-a-side football clubs are following suit. This is the case for Olympique Lyonnais. In addition to an ultra-competitive women’s team, Jean-Michel Aulas has launched a futsal section. For the moment, they are only in the district, but I am convinced that they will reach the high European and world level very quickly. More generally, all the figures are up. It is a spectacular sport which attracts crowds. Last year we posted the recap of the friendly against Portugal on YouTube. The video has been viewed over 350,000 times. It is enormous. The three matches of the Elite round were broadcasted on FFF TV.
Source of the interview: Mickaël Duché
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