Brazilian football heads for Belarus

Five Belarusian cities to host 11th AMF Futsal World Championship, from April 17th

Five Belarusian cities to host 11th AMF Futsal World Championship, from April 17th

The First Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Futsal Federation, Sergey Safonov, tells us about training for the tournament, prospects for the host team and surprises in store.

National futsal team among favourites of domestic tournament

“The national team of Belarus is the reigning champion of Europe and ranked fifth globally. We’ve waited the domestic championship for eight years. Futsal began developing in Belarus during Soviet days and is still doing so, in close contact with Russian futsal. Even the futsal federations of Russia and Belarus appeared almost simultaneously: in the early 1990s. Initially, we organised joint tournaments, holding seminars for coaches and judges with the participation of experts from South America: the homeland of futsal. Today, our friendship with Russian colleagues continues and futsal is gaining a reputation in our country for bringing regular medals from major international tournaments. It is helping us represent our country abroad.”

How does futsal relate to regular football?

Unfortunately, relations are difficult. FIFA and the International Futsal Federation don’t yet agree on co-operation or joint projects. Such confrontation has brought about indoor soccer, under the aegis of FIFA, in which I see nothing good. Co-operation would bring more advantages, to both sides.

Who sets the tone in Belarusian futsal today?

Brestvtorchermet, VRZ (Gomel), has twice won the European Champions League. Futsal is quickly developing in Pinsk, based at Polessky State University, and Minsk futsal projects have good prospects. The backbone of the national team resides in Dmitry Kudy, the captain, alongside Konstantin Tyurin, Alexander Koval and Alexey Nalivaiko. All have been with the team for a long time and have made a major contribution to its success. We also have some talented young players who, I hope, will play in the national team and be ‘discovered’ at the Minsk tournament.

How is the national team preparing for the domestic championship?

Players are training with their clubs, with the 6th final round of the championship of Belarus already played at Brest’s Victoria Sports Complex. It will be hosting Group B matches and two World Сhampionship quarter-finals.

A circle of candidates for the national team was outlined after the Brest matches and training began on April 7th, at Minsk-Arena: the main venue hosting the next World Championship. We’ll choose our twelve players there.

Which arenas will be hosting the World Championship?

Minsk’s Sports Palace and Minsk-Arena, as well as Brest’s Victoria Sports Complex and Pinsk’s Polessky State University sports centre. Matches will also be held at Borisov’s fitness centre and Molodechno’s Ice Palace.

Who are the Belarusian national team’s main rivals?

Those from Latin America, who are trendsetters in world futsal; they’ll be hosting the final stage of preparations for the championship in Barcelona. Belarus will play against Brazil and Uruguay in its group, while the finalists of the last World Championship will play in Group C: Colombia (the reigning champion) and Venezuela. We know little about the Argentinian team, which trains behind closed doors, but they’ll be playing Russia in the tournament. The first match is planned for April 17th, between Belarus and Brazil.

What are our chances?

Our team’s efforts of the past two decades are reaping success and the chance of medals. We’ll do our utmost to make our dreams and hopes reality.

Who invented the championship’s hedgehog mascot?

Artist Vitaly Ortyukh, who also gave us Auroch Volat, for the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championship, hosted by Minsk. In Belarusian, we call him Vozhyk: he gives a ‘thumbs-up’ when all is well. Mr. Ortyukh has designed the emblem and all the official graphics of the championship, as used on boards and souvenirs.

Usually, such tournaments sell out in Minsk. Will affordable tickets remain available?

We guarantee a thrilling event, with ticket prices, and those for souvenirs, set at modest rates. If you aren’t able to attend in person, you can watch most games on Channel 5.

Preliminary groups for the World Futsal Championship 2015:

A Belarus, Brazil, Uruguay and Australia (games hosted by Minsk)

B Paraguay, Belgium, Norway and Morocco (Brest)

C Colombia, the Czech Republic, Venezuela and Curaçao (Borisov and Molodechno)

D Argentina, Russia, Slovakia and Kyrgyzstan (Pinsk)

Two teams from each group will go through to the quarter-finals, while the semi-finals and finals will be hosted by Minsk-Arena

By Kirill Karin
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