Allen Khumalo, Sports Reporter
THE Southern Region Five-A-Side League Independence Cup first round games kicked off at the weekend with two matches being played at the Grassroots Soccer Football for Hope Centre in Gwabalanda.
Pool A saw Fox and Black Stars playing to a 3-3 stalemate, while in Pool B Flying Stars walloped Bulawayo Artists 6-1.
Southern Region Five-A-Side League chairman Philani Banda said other matches will be played next Saturday and Sunday at the same venue.
Other teams making up Pool A are Nust, Cash Money and Cowdray Park, while Amabhubesi, Street Set and Rome complete Pool B.
“We are hoping that in two weeks’ time all the teams would have played their round robin games in their respective pools, with the best team booking a place in the final set for April 18. The teams were really geared up for the competition following some pre-season games that we had earlier. With the performance that I witnessed over the weekend, I strongly believe we are in for an exciting season this year,” said Banda.
The 2017 Southern Region Five-A-Side League is set to kick off in the first week of April and registration of clubs and players closes on March 30.
Last year, the league had 10 clubs under its umbrella, Fox, Khalanyoni, FC Amabhubesi, Fog, Nyoro United, Rome, Wangu Wangu, Binga United, Cowdray Park and National University of Science and Technology (Nust).
Five-A-Side football, also known as futsal, is played on a smaller field and mainly indoors. It is played between two teams of five players each, one of whom is the goalkeeper and unlimited substitutions are permitted.
The game is played with a smaller ball with less bounce than 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.