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Futsal fever hits Singapore

Futsal becoming more popular than street soccer in Singapore. -TNP
Ali Kasim

Sat, Jun 02, 2012
The New Paper

Laplata Juniors players enjoying a game at the Stadio Futsal at Canberra Road.

About five years ago, the Laplata Juniors were a renowned seven-a-side football team.

But in recent years, they have switched to the more popular futsal version.

Said team manager A Siva Selvadurai: "Over the last three, four years, we've down-sized to futsal.

"We had to. Now everywhere you go, you can find a futsal pitch.

"It makes sense, because everyone, young or old, can play futsal."

Indeed, futsal has replaced street soccer as the predominant game for weekend warriors.

Artificial pitch

While street soccer is played on concrete surfaces, futsal - usually five- or six-a-side - is mostly played on artificial grass, like the pitches at the Singapore Khalsa Association and the Ceylon Sports Club.

These pitches are operated by Stadio Futsal, which also has a bigger futsal venue at the Fairway Club in Jurong that features two small pitches and one bigger, seven- a-side pitch.

Last month, Stadio Futsal opened a another venue at 301 Canberra Road.

Former S-League footballer Marko Kraljevic, 47, who co-runs the Stadio facilities, said that futsal is "really modern street soccer".

"Everywhere you go, people will tell you that it's the best way to learn basic football.

"You play inside a cage and the ball doesn't go out. It's a non-stop game, so after one hour, it's good exercise.

"And, of course, futsal is great way to improve your ball control and technique."

Demand for pitches has grown so much that Stadio Futsal decided to operate the facilities round the clock.

"Usually, the most popular time slot is 7pm or 8pm," Kraljevic said.

"But on weekends and public holidays, people also play after midnight, up to 4am."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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