Two of Brentford FC’s Futsal squad, along with Head Coach Luis Melville, headed to St. George’s Park, home of England’s 28 national teams, for the inaugural EFLT All-Star Futsal Game last month. Four regions, North, Midlands, South-West and South-East, were represented by players selected from a poll of coaches.
The two selected from Brentford were goalkeeper Bahaa Jahlki, pictured right above, and pivot Said Gutale. Luis Melville and Chelsea FC Head Coach James Phillips with players from Southampton, Albion in The Community and Chelsea also made up the ten-man South-East squad.
With the customary early start, a tactical briefing was held in the morning, followed by an hour training session before the afternoon’s round-robin tournament. England Under-19 Futsal Head Coach Pete Vallance was also present during the day on a scouting mission in preparation for next year’s Under -9 UEFA Futsal Championships.
First up for South-East were the South-West. With nerves obvious, it took both teams a while to settle, but the South-East settled into their groove and ran out 3-2 winners. Game two was against the North with the South-East in control of the game leading 1-0, when two quick goals within the space of a minute saw them trailing 2-1. Despite two good chances in the final 30 seconds, the points slipped away.
The final game was against the Midlands and the South-East needed to win by five clear goals to claim the trophy. It was clear that the South-East were going to risk everything. With ten minutes to go, the score stood at 3-3. A South-East time out, and a decision to play ‘fly-keeper’, started to pay off with three quick goals, to give the squad hope at 6-3. But time ran out with the eventual score ending 6-4.
That meant a runners-up spot for the South-East squad with the South-West, champions. One bonus was that Albion in The Community pivot Harvey Day bagged the top goal scorer trophy.
Luis Melville said: "It was a great honour to be selected as joint coach along with James from Chelsea and to be involved in this event. Our squad were fantastic from the moment we all met to when we departed. The team spirit and the way the gelled to help each other out during the day was tremendous to see. They all represented their clubs and the region with pride and all of them contributed to the day. It was a pleasure to be able to coach them."