Kings Of The Sand
Team Indonesia II won the beach soccer tournament in Bali even though competing while learning the game.
CLAUDIO Andres Villan Cerpa, 29, walks with a limp. The midfield star of the Bandung Regency Soccer Association (Persekaba) soccer club in Bali grimaces at his injury; and as he sits on the grass of Samudera Field in Kuta, he occasionally massages his swollen left foot. Its still really painful, he said on Tuesday last week.
Villan bruised his foot while playing at the Dji Sam Soe International Beach Soccer Tournament 2005 in Kuta, Bali, on November 12-13. Six countries participated: Indonesia, Cameroon, Japan, Italy, Chile and France. The players had to compete on a sand field without shoes. The field was difficult, said Villan.
Beach soccer is a variation on soccer that is normally played on grass. Each team is made up of five players including the goalkeeper. They maneuver the ball with bare feet on a beach or field of sand that is only some 35 x 25 meters. Each match is divided into three rounds of 12 minutes with a rest period of three minutes between rounds.
Although the length of the matches is shorter than the normal soccer game of two halves of 45 minutes, Muhammadanone of the Team Indonesia II playersfeels that beach soccer is more exhausting. He and his teammates cannot run as fast because the soles of their feet feel as if they are working into the sand. Even the ball is difficult to dribble because it gets caught in the sand. Physically its very heavy going, he says. Eventually, in the elimination round of the first match, they had to acknowledge the supremacy of the Chile team with a score of 3-1.
Fortunately, in the following match they succeeded in picking up their game. Muhammadan and his teammates crushed Team Indonesia I that had been reinforced by a number of former national team players such as Ricky Yakobi and Aji Santoso with a score of 10-1. They went on to beat the French 5-1. These two victories were the ticket that would take them through to the fifth and final round.
In this round, Team Indonesia II defeated Italy through a penalty with a score of 9-8. In the semifinal they again encountered Team Indonesia I and again won 8-3. The championship title was finally taken after they overthrew Cameroon in the crown event on Sunday last week.
Although victorious, Villan admitted the final event was the heaviest because the Cameroon players had such great stamina. In the first round, Team Indonesia II was left trailing 2-1, however they were able to maintain an appearance of enthusiasm and got the full support of the spectators.
The struggle bore fruit. In the second round they were able to respond to their opponents game and the score ended 3-3. In the final and determining round, they succeeded in getting more balls past their opponents goal posts and closed the match with a score of 6-5.
The victory made Villan happy, especially since this was the first time that they had played beach soccer. It was also despite the fact that their preparation was lacking and the team was formed just one week before the competition. Those who joined the team were Persekaba players who had not returned home because the Indonesia League and the Dji Sam Soe Cup were on holiday.
The core players of Indonesia Team II are made up of Villan, Muhammadan, Cinik Ari Arsana, Kanang Kariyana and Made Wirawan (goalkeeper). The reserve players are Kadek Setiawan, Ango Julian, Komang Tariawan, Budi Setiawan and Nyoman Ariana (goalkeeper).
According to the head of the tournament committee, Vata Matanu Garcia, beach soccer is already very popular in the United States and Europe (see From the Beaches in the Land of Samba). It was from there that the idea was born to hold a similar match in Bali, an island known for its beautiful beaches. Initially, the match was intended as a charity activity to assist victims of first Bali bombing three years ago, and to promote the arrival of foreign tourists.
Niat Vata, a former player of the Portuguese club Benfica in the 1980s, was able to get the support he needed. His friendsbeach soccer players from Spain, Germany, Portugal, Brazil and Turkeyconfirmed they would take part. The first tournament was scheduled for October 8-9, 2005, but the plan fell into disarray following the second Bali bombing on October 1. Participants who had initially been prepared to appear immediately announced their withdrawal apparently because of the bombing.
This situation did not however break Vatas spirit. This tournament is important to show that Bali is quite safe for tourists, he said. He is still pursuing his idea by lobbying foreign players who have played in the Indonesian League. It appears that his idea received an enthusiastic welcome when the postponement of the match resulted in some of his friends from Europe eventually being prepared to appear.
Lis Yuliawati, Rofiqi Hasan (Bali)
From the Beaches of the Land of Samba
BEACH soccer was inspired by acrobatic soccer games in soft sand on the beaches of Brazil. The game is conducted at a fast pace and there is much use of the head to hit the ball. This means that the ball is mostly in the air and this creates an attraction that is interesting to watch.
1992The game began to be played in various forms but only recreationally until 1992 when an exhibition match was organized in Los Angeles. The following summer, a professional beach soccer competition was held at Miami Beach in the US that included teams from the US, Brazil, Argentina and Italy.
1994In April 1994, the first match covered by a television network was organized at the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One year later, the city became the host for the inauguration of the World Beach Soccer Championship. The competition was won by Brazil.
1996The success of the championship caused further development in the new sport. In 1996, a professional beach soccer tour was organized which included 60 matches and covered three continents (US, Europe and Asia) over a period of two years.
1998In 1998, a professional beach soccer league was held in Europe. Four years later a world-level competition structure was created for professional beach soccer. To date, beach soccer world championships have been organized 10 times. Brazil has dominated these and won nine titles with Portugal stealing one title. Beach soccer is now officially part of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).
2005Last may, the first FIFA Beach Soccer World Championship was held at Copacabana beach. A number of countries took part including Brazil, France, Portugal and Spain, with France taking the title.
Beach soccer has now spread from the beaches of Brazilthe land of Sambaall over the world. The participation of former well-known international soccer players has assisted in the rapid popularization of the sport. This has included flamboyant player from France Eric Cantona, legendary strikers from Spain, Michel and Julio Salinas, as well as three legendary soccer players from Brazil, Romario, Junior and Zico.
Their participation has resulted in beach soccer obtaining widespread coverage by television networks in some 170 countries. Beach soccer has now become a professional sport that is developing extremely rapidly.
Lis Yuliawati (various sources)