The Premier Futsal, which kicks off on July 15, has released its foot-tapping anthem composed by music maestro AR Rahman, who himself features in the video along with India’s Test captain Virat Kohli – the brand ambassador of the league.
Titled ‘Naam Hai Futsal’, the anthem sets the tone of much awaited league that will feature football stars like Michel Salgado, Paul Scholes and Deco among the the 50 international stars from 21 countries.
Premier Futsal promises to bring football’s younger cousin futsal to Indian shores.
Premier Futsal – a franchise-based five-a-side league – will have teams representing Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Delhi. It has been started by entrepreneurs Abhinandan Balasubramanian, Dinesh Raj and Nithyashree Subban.
The organisers of Premier Futsal are in top promotional gear: former Portuguese legend Luis Figo has been signed up as president while Indian cricket’s current heartthrob Virat Kohli is the brand ambassador. They have already pulled off a coup of sorts by signing up former Manchester United legend Paul Scholes.
Unfortunately, due to the convoluted manner in which the game is organised at the international level, Premier Futsal has found itself in conflict with the All Indian Football Federation which has asked its constituent federations to keep away from the tournament.
Futsal: A true game of skill
Despite being derived from football, futsal has a different grammar. It is played between teams of five players each with unlimited substitutions on a much smaller field. The surface is hard, and the ball is also smaller, not bouncing as much as a regular football. Because of this, futsal can be extremely exciting to watch as the players have to continuously improvise.
The biggest among them is Brazil’s Falcao who is widely recognised as the world’s best futsal player. He helped the Brazil team win two Futsal World Cups in 2008 and 2012. But it’s his incredible skills with the ball which make his fans go weak at the knees. Indian fans will get the opportunity to view it at close quarters, for Falcao will also be a part of Premier Futsal league.
Even the two arguably greatest players in the world at present owe their skills to this format. Lionel Messi started off playing futsal with Argentinian club Newell’s Old Boys. “As a little boy in Argentina, I played futsal on the streets and for my club. It was tremendous fun, and it really helped me become who I am today,” he said. And his Real Madrid and Portugal rival Cristiano Ronaldo agreed, arguing that the small playing area of futsal had helped him improve his close control.