Auckland Futsal win national title after losing final
The taste of success was bittersweet for the Auckland Football Federation’s (AFF) women’s futsal team at the New Zealand National Women’s Futsal League in Wellington late last month.
AFF were crowned national champions in the competition despite losing the final.
In slightly bizarre circumstances, the AFF Futsal team contested the final against an invitational Australian team, meaning they had already won the national title by beating out the other New Zealand teams.
The tournament featured six other teams from across the country including Northern Futsal, WaiBOP Futsal, Capital Futsal, Central Futsal Manawatu, Central Futsal Hawkes Bay, and Canterbury United Futsal Pride.
In just the second year of the National Women’s Futsal League, AFF have made the final both times, losing to CentralManawatu on penalties last year, and losing to Bayside Pirates from Australia 4-3 this year.
Tournament MVP and joint top goal scorer Maxine Cooper said the team wasn’t aware they were national champions until the following day, with the disappointment of losing back-to-back finals still ringing in their minds.
‘‘It was mixed feelings,’’ Cooper said.
‘‘We were stoked to get there, and beat Manawatu in the semis, but obviously really gutted because it feels like we just can’t seem to win a final.’’
Coach Nic Downes, who informed the girls they had the national crown, said it was an interesting way to end the tournament.
‘‘Straight after the match, everyone was pretty gutted because it was a final and we just lost,’’ coach Nic Downes said.
‘‘Even though we walked away with the silver, we’re still national champions, so for some who have been in the game for a number of years now, I think they’re pretty stoked.’’
New Zealand Football announced this year that it would be introducing the Futsal Ferns - the first women’s national team.
Cooper, who left football two years ago to focus solely on futsal, said the announcement would give the game a huge push throughout the country.
But for the AFF Futsal team, there’s still more achievement to tick off.
‘‘We’d really like to win a final, at some point in time,’’ Downes said.
The AFF Fustal are national champions despite losing the final of the New Zealand National Women’s Futsal League.