Goa, July 21: Futsal suits Indian culture as the fast pace and high intensity of the format is similar to twenty20 cricket played in the Indian Premier League (IPL), believes English Futsal player Doug Reed. [Full schedule of Premier Futsal].
Brazilian football legend Ronaldino, Paul Scholes and former Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs were among the players who mesmerized the fans during the first leg of the inaugural Premier Futsal League in Chennai.
"I think, it is an ambiguous plan to try and introduce Futsal in India. It doesn't really exist here. I think, what they have done is, they have recognized that and that's why they brought in the legends on board to get the attention on to this game," Reed, who is also the tournament's Technical Commissioner, told PTI in an interaction here.
"If we hadn't done that, we would not have caught the attention. It is such fantastic sport and so exciting to watch and entertaining. Now India has really taken to Futsal, and it's going to a be a sport as huge here.
"How much you guys like the IPL, the fast action of the IPL and I think that's what Futsal brings. It's that fast-high tempo, high intensity sport and there is massive following of football here and Futsal is more suited to the Indian culture.
"It is going to take off here and that has already started. Futsal takes the best bites of football and we just keep the best beats and all the rubbish and boring bits we take out. Football is a really easy sport to understand, inclusive and entertaining, so its going to be really successful in India," he added.
The second leg of the Premier Futsal is currently underway in Goa. Reed, who plays for the England national side, said the sport is relatively new to that country but has grown really fast.
"In England, it is quite a new sport, relatively a new sport, last 10-15 years but it has grown really fast, especially at the youth level, so many people playing it. One thing we hadn't have is that, we did not have investment at the elite level, so still has not taken at the global arena and that is why this Premier Futsal is amazing," he said.
"It is amazing that India is leading the way in the sport which we (English) usually established in. In other countries, such Spain, Italy, Portugal, they have professional Futsal leagues, everybody knows the sport and the players are well known.
"It is a sport which is established in those kind of Latin American countries, in southern European countries and now it is coming to Northern European countries like France, Scandinavia, Japan as well, China. So it is a sport which is at the beginning of its journey to become one of the most important sports in the world," he added.
On the Indian talent, Reeds, who also plays for Baku On the Indian talent, Reeds, who also plays for Baku United FC, said, "I was surprised with how much talent Futsal has in India. Futsal is a very similar game to street football and we have seen that, those players who have made it to the tournament, they have made an impact.
"Players like Mohammed Islam, Jonathan Piers have shown they can compete; they are not at the level of the international Futsal players because they haven't had the chance to compete, but they have shown that they have talent and match with the best players in the world."
According to Reeds, Futsal is more of a technical game, its more about skills and intelligence and it can be more suited to the Indian players.
Sighting the example of Jonathan Piers, Reeds said, "It gives Indian footballer another pathway. A lot of players we had in the tournament we have played football before, but it hasn't really worked out for them and they see Futsal as a pathway," he added.