The Cape Town futsal community is poised to rejuvenate the local football landscape following the launch of its regional league recently.“The purpose of this league is to grow futsal in the Western Cape,” explains South African Indoor Football Association (SAIFA) Western Cape chairperson, Richard Fortune.Futsal is a variant of indoor football with an emphasis on control, creativity quick passing, spatial awareness and technique. The ball is slightly smaller, but heavier in order to minimise the bounce of the ball on the harder indoor surfaces where futsal is played.“Futsal is an outdoor pitch brought indoors, it’s an open field, and that is why futsal will do more for our players to go into 11-a-side, it will make them better and more skilful players, which is the problem we are having in 11-a-side at the moment. That is why we are starting with our futsal league, so our players can have the ability to become better players and probably get into the national squad,” says Fortune.He hopes the league can grow to feature more than the current six teams – Bishop Lavis Futsal Club, Cape Town Falcons, Cape Town Titans, Futsal for All, Mustangs and Samba Five.These teams emanate from Bellville, Bishop Lavis, Cape Town, Crawford, Mitchell’s Plain, Salt River and UCT and do battle every Wednesday night at Proteaville Recreation Centre in Bellville South.However, Fortune hopes to grow the league to include teams from other parts of Cape Town such as Grassy Park, Gugulethu, Hanover Park, Langa and Khayelitsha, while also starting a school’s league.Anthony Cupido, coach of Bishop Lavis Futsal Club, says although they are new to futsal, they are aiming high.“I know that we are going to be the best team here. We started doing fives tournaments in Bishop Lavis at certain schools. There were people asking us if we were interested in doing futsal, so we had a trial run on 17 June,” says Cupido.He helped select a 14-man squad out of the 18 teams who took part in the trials.“We have been together for a while, because some of the other guys played in some other leagues, but we wanted to join the futsal league,” he explains.Cupido adds that unlike outdoor football, the action is relentless in futsal.“The time is shorter, whereas you get a 45-minute half in (outdoor) football, which is a little bit longer and it can drag, but most of all, the action in futsal is non-stop, which is more enjoyable. It is also a cleaner game because there are no major injuries that we know of so far,” he says.Tyrone Ward, Mustangs captain and goalkeeper says that while still fledgling, the platform laid down for futsal in Cape Town is a positive development.“There are people who are really serious about the game and want it to go forward. This platform that has been given is awesome for players who haven’t achieved at a higher level in outdoor football, but giving them a platform to achieve it at a later stage in their lives,” he says, adding that Mustangs is made up of a few ex-pro outdoor players who have finished their careers and now help young players to develop, which he feels is the heartbeat of a sustainable futsal club.“You have to develop a club: you can’t start from the top, you have to start from the bottom. Infrastructure is important, but it has been lacking. Futsal has been around for 18-20 years (in South Africa), but nobody knows about futsal until the last few years which is terrible. South African football, in general, is currently of a low standard – we are so far behind when compared to Europe and South America, but what do they do? They make sure the infrastructure and platform are set for those kids in order for them to move forward. “They build the base, same as when you build a house where you can’t build a house with windows first, you got to have a solid foundation first,” Ward elaborates.Fortune hopes that through SAFA, SAIFA can train coaches and referees to expand futsal’s reach even further, and more importantly – act as a tool against socio-economic strife in struggling communities.“My aim is going to be – don’t shoot, come score goals. We want to play this game at night in the community to take the youngsters minds off gangsterism. I would like to ask the government kindly to come on board with us to grow the sport. We need financial support because we are running this league out of our own pockets.”For more information send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.