Fullback Coupe's late strike seals national title
WITH just 15 seconds to go, Cairns' futsal young guns Matthew Filip and Gabriel Hawash thought their hopes of grand final glory had been dashed for a third successive year.
But they didn't count on shy fullback Elliot Coupe to slot home the winning goal and claim a 2-1 victory over Sydney City South in the Futsal Association National Championships last weekend.
Coached by FNQ Futsal development officer Tony Cifuentes, the FNQ U15 futsal boys team went through undefeated in the Sydney-based tournament, having fallen short at the final hurdle in their two previous attempts.
Three other Far Northern teams also shared the spoils at this year's tournament, with the U11 Boys, U12 Girls (combined with Tasmania) and U13 Girls all getting the top gong.
"We'd been training quite hard for the last couple of months with the boys, challenging them up against the senior men's team," Cifuentes said of the U15s.
"The boys were keen and motivated and they'd worked hard to prepare."
Focusing on playing the ball high up the court, Cifuentes chose to continuously rotate his players out of position in an effort to confuse the opposition.
The tactic worked perfectly in the final seconds of the grand final when Coupe was moved to striker and scored the winning goal.
U15 team captain Filip said the result proved that Far North players could mix it with the best futsal teams in the country and still come up with the goods.
"We're just as good as anyone else, even though we're from such a small place," he said.
Meanwhile, Hawash had an extra reason to smile after being named as one of five players in the national Allstars squad to tour Brazil in August.
NEW CAIRNS.COM.AU COMMENT POLICY
We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Comments submitted without a full name and suburb/location will not be considered for publication. Please read our full comment policy and publication guidelines.
Share this article
Thrilling win: Gabriel Hawash, Matthew Filip and coach Tony Cifuentes. Picture: ANNA ROGERS