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All Whites veteran rejuvenates defeated Futsal Whites

Jul 21st, 2014 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News, Sport

IMAGE: Matthew Lau

IMAGE: Matthew Lau

LEO Bertos made his international futsal debut last weekend and hopes to become a double national rep by playing in the Futsal World Cup in 2016.

The Wellington footballer played for the All Whites in the 2010 World Cup.

When asked about the All Whites missing out on the recent World Cup, he said: “Who knows, there might be a chance to get to the next one, or the Futsal World Cup, that’s on the way now too.

“I don’t know how common that is, having a player that’s played in both.”

The crowd of more than 600 gave 32-year old Bertos (right) a raucous welcome when he came on against Australia’s Futsalroos at Kilbirnie’s ASB Sports Centre.

He showed the experience of his 56 international football caps when he cleverly chipped the ball over goalkeeper Angelo Konstantinou to give the Futsal Whites a glimmer of hope.

The match ended 5-3 to the Futsalroos, and the next two games were also defeats of 6-0 and 7-1.

The Futsal Whites had failed to score goals against the Australians in the same competition last year.

Bertos, who was released by Wellington Pheonix at the end of the 2013-14 football season, appears to have added a wealth of experience to the improved Futsal Whites.

However, he is still keen on playing 11-a-side football.

“The priority [for me] is to play club football, so I’m available for that,” says Bertos, who also plans to start an academy for football development of children.

Futsal White Daniel Burns says futsal to the average fan is a smaller size game of outdoor.

“It’s five on five, it’s quick, it’s fast and you’ve got to react more, and there’s plenty more shots,” says Burns.

“I definitely believe futsal is growing. We’ve got over 50,000 kids playing futsal now in all the regions around New Zealand,” he said.

Qualifying for Colombia in 2016 begins next year for the Futsal Whites.

“We are all looking forward to qualifying for the World Cup next year.  It will be held in Tahiti,” says teammate Jakub Sinkora.

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