Futsal set sights on 2020 Tokyo Olympic chance

Wednesday April 8 2020



Hoping. Futsal’s Hamza Jjunju

Hoping. Futsal’s Hamza Jjunju 

By GEORGE KATONGOLE

The Futsal Association of Uganda chairman Hamzah Jjunju is excited at the possibility of having futsal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Futsal made its Olympic debut at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires replacing football but it was speculated to become an Olympic sport by 2024 as well as being an addition to the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China in 2022.

Being in the Youth Olympic Games program has served as a springboard for many sports looking to join the Olympic program. Yet some officials want it as early as 2021.

Fifa Futsal and Beach Soccer Operations Manager Kasra Haghighi says that futsal “should be considered” for the Olympics stressing growing number of fans, TV interest and increased participation.

Futsal is a variant of football played by five players each side on a hard pitch the size of basketball with a low bounce ball. It is credited for being intense as players operate in tight spaces which helps quick movement.

Marion Mayer-Vorfelder, Fifa Olympic Tournaments Group Leader adds that futsal as an urban competition is a great approach and the way forward. “The urban approach is, according to the IOC, something that should be considered for Tokyo 2020 and further Games,” she said.

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Jjunju said “it is a dream worth pursuing. We await official communication on this and if there is a possibility of qualifying, we shall give it a try.”

Uganda has been playing an organised league since 2008 but did not take part in the sixth edition of the 2020 Africa Futsal Cup of Nations in Morocco in January. The tournament, won by the host, was a qualifier for the World Cup in Lithuania.

“We actually have a chance as our league has proved to be competitive and yet not so many people can be involved in the qualifiers,” he added.

With the Olympics to 2021, several ideas are being floated to make the games compelling although a last-minute change could be unlikely.

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