Keeping the Legacy of Nelson Mandela alive though the great sport of Futsal

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Keeping the Legacy of Nelson Mandela alive though the great sport of Futsal. Nelson Rohlihlala Mandela a South African revolutionary, anti-apartheid political leader and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa. As 2018 marks a major milestone in this incredible journey of Nelson Mandela –his centenary. Mandela’ fame rests on his role for greatness as a visionary whose leadership is exercised with humility and respect the world over. The Nelson Mandela legacy was celebrated and honoured worldwide especially in Italy. In the recognition of this influential leader and in the remembrance of Mandela a multi-million rand futsal Arena was erected. It was appropriately named,

 “ Nelson Mandela Futsal campionato “

In the City of Lainate outside Milan in Italy is a state-of-the-art Futsal Arena named in honor of Nelson Mandela namely the “Centro Sportivo Nelson Mandela Lainate “









Futsal is a variant of association football played on a hard court, smaller than a football pitch, and mainly indoors. It can be considered a version of five-a-side football.[1]

Futsal is played between two teams of five players each, one of whom is the goalkeeper. Unlimited substitutions are permitted. Unlike some other forms of indoor football, the game is played on a hard court surface delimited by lines; walls or boards are not used. Futsal is also played with a smaller, harder, low-bounce ball. The surface, ball, and rules together favour ball control and passing in small spaces. The BBC football writer Alistair Magowan has said, “The emphasis is on improvisation, creativity and technique.

On the 12th of May 2018 the AMF World Governing Body of Futsal hosted the 11th World Futsal Congress in Asuncion Paraguay ,57 Presidents of various Futsal Federations around the World attended the event.

The South African Futsal Federation received full affiliation from the World Governing Body of Futsal after reaching our first milestone by sending the First Ever Ladies Futsal team to the Woman’s World Cup in Spain 2017. While we were completing our provisional affiliation status, we were always aware of how important it was to implement AMF Futsal in South Africa to have rights to qualify for Futsal World cups in all age categories

It was a huge wakeup call to discover how far behind we are in the world of Futsal. Futsal is one of the fastest growing sports in the World and is knocking on the Olympic door with many of the AMF Nations who attended the meeting and are already recognised by their national Olympic committees. Countries like Colombia who has over 1.3 million registered players and Argentina has a national Futsal television channel.

This will only enhance and assist the mandate of the South African Futsal Federation (SAFF) and the sport of Futsal in South Africa.

AMF Federations for example like Colombia, Brazil and Argentina have over 4 million registered players collectively, hence they are the leaders in this great Sport. This is great as Brazil and Argentina are BRICS partners with South Africa.

Futsal started in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1930 when Juan Carlos Ceriani created a version of indoor football for recreation in YMCA. The Sport was founded to contribute to positive social change as there were not many grass soccer fields available at this time. We now find ourselves in a similar situation due to climate change and the situation with regards to football fields

The sport began to spread across South America, and its popularity ensured that a governing body was formed under the name of FIFUSA (Federación Internacional de Fútbol de Salón) in 1971, comprising Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal and Uruguay, along with the World Championships. The first FIFUSA World Cup was held in São Paulo, by hosts and crowned champions Brazil, ahead of Paraguay and Uruguay. Even more countries participated in the second World Cup held in Madrid in 1985.

With full affiliations we have opened the world of Futsal to South Africa as we have access to more than 40 federations around the world AND NOW we can keep the Legacy of Nelson Mandela alive though this great sport. Futsal Africa would like to embark on establishing the annual or bi-annual Nelson Mandela cup

One of the Highlights of the World congress in Paraguay’s event was the Dialogue agreement between Italy & South Africa and the initiation of an annual friendly championship namely the “Nelson Mandela Futsal campionato“  between the 2 countries.

The catalyst of this partnership was conceptualized as the late Nelson Mandela founding father of the nation of South Africa, was extremely good friends with the Mayor of Milan. Due to this great friendship and love for South Africa the Mayor named the state of the art futsal arena after Nelson Mandela namely the “Centro Sportivo Nelson Mandela Lainate “

President of the South African Futsal Federation Jody van Heerden could not hold back his elation, as the reason for the establishment of the South African Futsal Federation and all its affiliated leagues in South Africa was to grow the non-existent sport of real & original Futsal in South Africa and to discover that there are other countries honouring Mandela name via the same sport Futsal

One of the priority objectives of the establishment of the South African Futsal Federation was to use this as a catalyst to create positivity in underprivileged communities within South Africa, especially with climate and water related issues. Futsal courts are low maintenance and can be played anytime and throughout the year

The current plan is to host the first inaugural inside this state of the art centre and have 3 under 21 teams compete over 3 leagues in Italy. We would like to start this as a bi-annual event and with the proper sponsors on board we could invite Italy to visit South Africa as well.


Benefits of the sport Futsal:


Futsal rewards the same basic skills, tactics and knowledge of the game as the 11v11 outdoor game.



In a statistical study comparing futsal to indoor football with walls, players touch the ball 210% more often.



With limited space, constant opponent pressure and touch lines, improved ball control skills and technique are required.



The factors mentioned above, together with a four-second restart rule, ensure players learn to play and think faster.


Without a wall as support, players must make supporting runs when their teammates have the ball.


Action is continuous so players are forced to continue the play instead of stopping and watching.


With four pitch players and all the basic options of the outdoor game in non-stop action mode, players understanding of the game is enhanced.


The goal and penalty area is a perfect size for narrowing the angle, so players learn to shoot accurately to score goals.


FIFA’S Futsal Laws of the game encourage a skilled sport by punishing all physical contact fouls.

  1. FUN

Players enjoy the challenge of playing a fast-paced, fun-and-skilled- orientated game that tests their abilities.

Read up more about the history  of futsal on this link  and visit our website



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