City’s Brazilian defender Maicon was the special guest to launch City in the Community’s link-up with Manchester Futsal Club at Gorton’s Wright Robinson College.
Manchester Futsal Club are the first organisation to receive a Connell Award this season, a series of awards designed to recognise outstanding contribution to urban sport in East Manchester.
CITC and Manchester Futsal Club’s programme is to be rolled out in 20 schools across Manchester, at Primary and Secondary level with the aim of providing activities for every age group and a pathway into competition, coaching and clubs.
Futsal, the sport which originates from South America, is credited as a key component in the successful careers of Carlos Tevez, David Silva and, of course, Maicon but the sport has struggled to gain a foothold in the UK to date.
This pioneering scheme is looking to change all that and City’s Brazilian international believes that can only be good news for the future of the English game.
“Even though football and futsal are two different games, futsal will help children with their technical development and make them become better players when they play 11-a-side football,” Maicon said.
“It is a very popular sport in my country and it has acquired more and more popularity since the likes of Ronaldinho and Robinho came through after playing it and when Brazil won the World Cup, the sport was given another huge lift.”
City in the Community’s Football Development Manager Gavin Makel outlined his vision for the project.
“We hope that we can make a contribution to the development of both young players and coaches whilst also putting the game of futsal in the forefront of people's minds,” Makel said.
“The Connell Awards were originally designed exactly for this purpose – putting something back into a grassroots sport at the heart of the Manchester community. This is a very exciting project.
“Futsal is a skilful sport that is popular all over the world. CITC has always been recognised as creating new and innovative ideas and being a partner with local sporting and educational organisations. This latest project furthers that premise.”
“Having someone here like Maicon who has such a great stature in the game, having played for Brazil and Inter Milan is fantastic and when you looked at the children’s faces when he came in, you can see how inspiring that is for them.”
...Gavin Makel - CITC Football Development Officer...
Simon Wright is chairman of Manchester Futsal Club and he believes that skills learned in these small-sided games can help to lay the foundations for technically gifted players to emerge in the English game.
“Futsal is such an enjoyable sport to be part of and we can’t wait to expand our reach into Manchester schools and give the children an insight into the skills and flair associated with this small-sided game"
The next recipient of a Connell Award will be announced in the next couple of months. If you would like to know of you are eligible to apply for one, you can contact Alex Williams on 0161 438 7908 or visit the Connell Awards section of the website to find out more.