Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
SOUTHERN Region Five-A-Side League chairman Philani Banda believes this year’s campaign will be one of the most competitive due to the increase in the number of participating teams.
Nine clubs registered for the league that kicked off at the Grassroots Soccer Football for Hope Centre in Gwabalanda at the weekend.
Newcomers Emakhandeni FC, Kilmanock and Street Set joined regulars Flying Stars, Bulawayo Artists, Amabhubesi, Cash Money, Fox and Nust.
Defending champions Bulawayo Artists opened their campaign with a 4-1 win over Nust, with last year’s runners-up Amabhubesi coming back from 3-1 to force a 6-6 draw against Fox.
Kilmarnorc managed a 3-3 draw against Cash Money in their debut game.
Banda said they were excited to have three new affiliates and believed it was an indication that the league was moving in the right direction.
“The season got off to a good start, with the teams exhibiting some exciting football. With such displays, we are set for a competitive and exciting season.
Our aspiration remains to play host to international competitions.
“We have an exciting new crop of players that have displayed talent, but our clubs struggle to participate in major tournaments due to financial constraints,” Banda said.
Worldwide, five a-side football is played on a smaller field and mainly indoors between two teams of five players each, one of who is a goalkeeper and unlimited substitutions are permitted.
Five a-side football is played with a smaller ball that has less bounce compared to a regular football due to the surface of the field.
The surface, ball and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces.