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Football Victoria set to benefit Dockerty Cup Final move in Ballarat
It’s the most historic and long-lasting soccer competition in Victoria, but the Dockerty Cup Final in 2020 will pave the way for future growth for the game.
For the first time in its 110 year history, the competition’s final will move to a regional Victorian venue, the inaugural one being Morshead Park in Ballarat.
Football Victoria CEO Peter Filopoulos announced the decision at the 2019 final between Melbourne Knights and Hume City, which could be the start of an exciting change up to capitalise on what the whole of Victoria has to offer.
Holding a cup final in a regional city like Ballarat is something we haven’t seen before, but the possibilities are endless to attract greater exposure to NPL Victoria clubs.
With most clubs based in metropolitan areas, going far and wide to regional areas is a positive switch which can clearly mix things up.
And in turn, those in the regional areas will get a rare chance to see the very best of NPL Victoria right in their own local ground.
While it may be seen as a one-off or an experiment, this is definitely something that can be prolonged as one of the showpiece games for FV.
Before the next final takes place in August, FV have committed to work with the City of Ballarat to get themselves ready for a groundbreaking occasion.
When you think about it, you’ve got to think this can be a real success with the neutrals from Ballarat and fans travelling from far and wide to support their club.
Take the Western Bulldogs in the AFL for example, who play a couple of home-and-away games each season at Mars Stadium in Ballarat.
It’s been proven that locals in Ballarat can get behind a team and sport, so for FV’s Dockerty Cup Final it shouldn’t be any different.
Carlos Salvachúa was Victory assistant coach under Kevin Muscat, before taking over as caretaker manager. He has coached professionally in Spain and Belgium, including six years at the Real Madrid academy, overseeing the development of the club’s rising stars.
He spoke to Soccerscene from Spain about his impressions of the A-League, where it could be improved, and how Australian youth need to play more football to reach their potential.
What were your first impressions of the A-League?
Salvachúa: Sometimes the big issue is knowing if it’s a professional league or not – and definitely the A-League was professional. I’m talking about games, organisation, talking about flights or hotels, and training. I was lucky to arrive to Melbourne Victory – one of the biggest clubs there is – and everything in the club was like in Europe and in Spain. Good facilities, good organisation, and a lots of staff in the office. For me the first impression was really professional.
What was the level of professionalism like compared to other leagues you have coached in?
Salvachúa: Belgium is a hard competition. I’m talking about the games, not about organisation – it’s similar to the A-League or in Spain in the La Liga. The competition is tough in Belgium if we compare the level of the players, the games and the competition.
What were the biggest challenges you faced while coaching in Australia?
Salvachúa: One of the biggest for me was the distance to play a game. It was funny because here with Atlético versus Real Madrid they travel 15 minutes to go to sleep at home, and for Victory we spend three days away to play a game, for me this was really hard. In the Champions League we spent five days away to play a game in China or in Japan. For me and and European players as well this was hard, because it was not easy. I remember the long pre-season because the schedule of FFA Cup was really hard for us. We trained two to three months before the first game in the A-League, just to play one round in the FFA Cup.
How do you think the league could be improved?
Salvachúa: For me, playing without promotion and relegation, is a problem, a big one in my opinion for the league. You need to improve the league from the basement – you cannot start the building of the house from the roof, you must start building the house from the ground up. I’m talking about the NPL. They are tough competitions, and you need to give promotion to the A-League, and I think that the competition will be better with this system like in Europe. I think a competition without promotion and relegation is only working with the MLS in USA. In Australia I think that it would be great to create another kind of competition to improve the league.
Another thing for me that is one of the biggest issues was that sometimes the players were receptive – they are professionals about training and have a good attitude to learn, but for me as a coach sometimes the players don’t know how important it is to win – compared to a draw or a loss. Without promotion and relegation, in some games as a coach, in the second half the players don’t understand how important it is to get a win over one point. I think that is probably one of the solutions to change the model of the competition.
How would you rate the level of young talent being developed in Australia?
Salvachúa: Like in other countries, you have good players with talent at 14, 15, and 16 years of age, but in my opinion they need more games. Some players arrive to A-League at 19 years old – playing 18 to 25 games – and it’s not easiest time for the coaches to start these young players in the first 11. If they are not playing every Sunday, they need another tough competition. You need competitive games with a second team like here in Spain or with the under 18s or under 19s – it depends. I think that they need more games here. A 14 or 15 year old kid normally finishes the competition in Spain with 45 official games. 45 games is more than the professionals in the A-League. I think one of the big issues is they do not have enough games and training sessions to develop the players. But the talent is there like in other countries.
Football Australia CEO James Johnson looks forward to growing futsal’s footprint in Australia after outlining a vision for a national program.
“As part of our clear strategic agenda, we outlined a vision to create a national program for futsal and beach soccer by working closely with our Member Federations in a unified, inclusive and collaborative manner,” Johnson said.
“With the culmination of this process, we are delighted that Football Queensland and Football Victoria will be hosting the National Futsal Championships in 2022 and 2023 respectively.
“There is a clear appetite throughout Australia for football to increase its imprint through futsal and beach soccer. Queensland and Victoria now have the opportunity to showcase this and bring it to life over the next two years, in a way never seen before.”
By granting the hosting rights to different cities, Football Australia believes the NFC will be a national tournament.
The Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre will host the relaunched tournament on the 5th-9th of January 2022.
“The National Futsal Championships are a highlight of the Australian football calendar, and we are excited to stage next year’s event at the state-of-the-art Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre,” FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci said.
Anthony Grima, Football Victoria’s Head of Futsal, believes the announcement was a step towards achieving FV’s futsal strategy.
“This is a huge win for Futsal in Victoria and one for me that should be dedicated to the many amazing individuals who are at the heart of the Futsal community here in Victoria,” Grima said.
“Hosting the NFC will leave a lasting legacy for Futsal and football in Victoria and inspire and enable more people to take up this amazing sport.”
The recently announced Home of the Matildas features a international sized futsal pitch, and it could host the championship.
Kimon Taliadoros, CEO of FV, said this news ensures that Victoria remains the home of sport.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for the people of Victoria. By hosting the National Futsal Championships, we will further enhance the state’s ability to host events and tournaments and support the Victorian economy by bringing interstate visitors back to Melbourne to experience the wide range of products, services and experiences that this great state has to offer,” Taliadoros said.
“Futsal has been on the national agenda for some time now, with Football Australia recently having released the ‘XI Principles – for the future of Australian football.’”
The return of the NFC will allow a pathway for players to compete against the best talent Australia has to offer.