Spot-on Mumbai celebrate Premier Futsal triumph

Mumbai 5s with Ryan Giggs (right, second row) celebrate winning the Premier Futsal title
Mumbai 5s with Ryan Giggs (right, second row) celebrate winning the Premier Futsal title

Ryan Giggs’ Mumbai 5s won the inaugural Premier Futsal title in Goa on Sunday (24), beating Kochi 5s 3-2 on penalties.

Kochi goalkeeper Casslone missed the crucial sudden-death spot-kick after the final finished 1-1 at the Peddam stadium.

Mumbai, led by Manchester United legend Giggs, left in late to force a shoot-out, equalising in the 39th and final minute through man-of-the-tournament Angellot.

Kochi, with their marquee player, former Real Madrid star Michel Salgado, took the lead when Moraes struck from close range in the 8th minute.

Giggs and Salgado missed in the shoot-out, while Angellot and Perez (Mumbai) and Chaguinha and Gekabert (Kochi) converted.

Mumbai stopper Luis Amado ended up the unlikely hero, first scoring then saving Casslone’s attempt to seal the trophy.

The first edition of the franchise-based competition, run by former Barcelona and Real Madrid icon Luis Figo, was regarded as a huge success.

The six-city, nine-day event saw the likes of Brazilian duo Ronaldinho and Cafu, Argentine goal-getter Hernan Crespo and another former United man Paul Scholes take part alongside local Indian talent.

Scholes said the standard was high and hoped it would help boost the popularity of futsal, and football, as a result.

“The standard of play has been really good and there are exciting players. It is hard to understand why they are not playing proper football rather than futsal,” he said.

“The point is to try and get young Indians playing more. From what I have seen in my team, they are very studious and trying to learn all the time. Some have scored a few goals in this tournament.”

Asked if Premier Futsal has the potential to emulate the IPL (cricket’s Indian Premier League), Scholes added: “Yeah, I hope so. It should do, Indian people like that form (Twenty 20). It is very quick, exciting with fours and sixes all the time.

“That’s similar on a futsal side, it requires quick skills and has fantastic goals. If we can get football and futsal sides even close to cricket, there is a chance in years to come that India will produce good footballers.”

Welsh-born Giggs explained: “In Wales, it’s quite similar to India where we have rugby and football, and here it’s cricket and football. The younger players (in India) need the right coaching, education and facilities. Also, you need someone with a vision.

“If you look at what Wales and Iceland did (at the recent European Championships), you don’t need a country with millions of people, which India have. If you have a vision and stick to it, you can be very successful.”