27 March 2013

Central Luzon launches own Futsal League

Four of the region's top futsal teams will battle it out on the maiden edition of the Central Luzon Futsal league at the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) on April 7th, 2013.

The regional league's top football clubs, Futbulakenyos of Bulacan and the Lighthouse Amihan FC (LAFC) of Olongapo City/Subic Bay, are set to renew their rivalry, this time in futsal.

Futsal, the five-versus-five indoor variant of football, is usually played inside a basketball court or a gym.

The league is the first of its kind in the country where all the three variants of football, association football (11vs11), Futsal (5vs5), and beach football are played on provincial representation in one league.

"The Central Luzon Futsal league is a football development experiment. We are slowly gaining support. The main attraction for clubs and teams is playing multiple match days at different venues with coaches able to strategize each game," David Bayarong, league commissioner, explained.

Bayarong added that teams from Central Luzon may still join the league.

The Philippine Futsal Committee (PFC) expressed full support for the league.

"This is a welcome development for futsal. It show that futsal is gaining headway into the various communities of the country," said Ismaeil Sedigh, chairman of the PFC and head coach of the national futsal team.

This year sees the entry of two football powerhouse, the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) Cobras representing Nueva Ecija, and the Tarlac State University (TSU).

"We are honored to host the opening of the league, our university president, Ruben Sevilleja even had the venue refurbished for the opening games," CLSU Cobra coach Francis Cruz.

The futsal league format presents each match day with the all teams will play that will be hosted by the home team. Each match day is at least 10 days apart.

On April 7th, teams will travel to Nueva Ecija to play the league launch in one of Central Luzon's footballing giant, the Central Luzon State University (CLSU).

"This gives us the opportunity to showcase football to the community, develop a fan base, and inspire kids to play the beautiful game," Bulacan's Futbulakenyos coach Emman Robles explained.

Bayarong noted that while the country is producing technically good players in the provinces, there is an observable weakness in tactics, both in players and coaching.

"The coaching staff are not able to introduce tactics because most of the league, even at the adult level, are one day tournaments," he explains.

Last year Bulacan took home the regional football championships trophy, the Sinukuan, in a thrilling come from behind victory over the LAFC Batang 'Gapo side, 3-2 at the Subic Bay Freeport before some 1,500 home fans. (John Bayarong)

A Lighthouse Amihan Football Club (LAFC) dribbles the ball behind the 3 point line during the Philippine Futsal league game.