01 Apr 2018
Asia has everything required for beach soccer
By Ali Targholizadeh, AFC Head of Futsal and Beach Soccer Development
Ali Targholizadeh is AFC Head of Futsal and Beach Soccer Development
Beach soccer is gradually gaining more and more importance within the football family in Asia, and we are now on the verge of making some truly significant steps to help take the sport to a whole new level.
It is undeniable that Asia has great potential. Not only do two thirds of the world’s population live here, but we also have the human resources, the necessary facilities and great financial support. We just need to make it happen by working in concise planning structures to ensure success.
Like beach soccer, losing is unfortunately a part of the game, but with thorough work you can improve and grow as a result of such setbacks. This is what we are willing to do now.
Twenty of our countries and national football associations are already involved in beach soccer, with many Asian teams regularly taking part in high-profile, elite international competitions.
Some of the countries, of course, have a more advanced level of development, with top-class teams and very powerful national championships that have players on the sand for seven or eight months of the year, such as Iran, or Japan, for example.
All development comes from teaching and learning. And we have always believed that national championships are the key for the sport’s evolution within a country. With national championships you develop better players and more experienced athletes. We have a great example of that with Iran, a country that has different divisions, age categories and women’s competitions.
Quality players don’t come about by accident. They come from good levels of participation, elite competitions and matches… from experience. One of the first objectives when developing beach soccer is the promotion of competition as this is what gives talent the opportunity to flourish.
Many countries are following that path already and we have had good communications with many of them including Thailand, who have begun an ambitious plan to foster a national beach soccer league. China is also leading their own development programme and are building many pitches across the country. These are just two examples of positive beach soccer news in the region.
I see a great future for the sport over the coming ten years in Asia. The sport has great potential, with a reduced risk of injury for the players and lots of goals and a great show for those in the stands.
Similarly, it’s clear to see why educational events such as November’s FIFA Beach Soccer Workshop in Dubai are so important. They’re a great tool to foster the growth of the game and after witnessing such enriching discussions, with so many experts from different countries and confederation, it’s plain to see why events like this mean are important to the future of beach soccer.