Three University of Waikato students will head to Kazakhstan this month to represent New Zealand in the 2018 World University Futsal Championships. Ethan Martin, Jonathan Tobias and Jordi Ditfort are members of this year’s national university squad, selected by Football New Zealand.
The students are looking forward to competing against the top university futsal teams from all over the world, including Spain, Brazil, France, Argentina and the USA. They’ve been training with the Futsal Whites and gaining experience through training camps over the last few months.
Although he’s only been playing futsal for three years, Jordi has six caps for the Futsal Whites. He grew up playing football, and says he’s looking forward to representing New Zealand in Kazakhstan.
“To represent my country overseas has always been a dream and a huge motivation to keep pushing forward,” Jordi says. “The most exciting thing is to play top-quality opposition and attempt to develop futsal within New Zealand.”
For first-year Hillary scholar Ethan Martin, the championships are the “highest honours” of his sporting career so far. The training has been intense, but Ethan says the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship has made it easier to balance his commitments.
“The Hillary programme has allowed me to concentrate on my futsal, alongside my degree and the personal development opportunities the programme offers. When I found out I had been selected to go to Kazakhstan, I was ecstatic.”
This is the first time Jonathan will represent New Zealand overseas, and he can’t wait.
“Being selected for this world cup means the world to me,” he says. “It’s really humbling and wonderful to have my years of training recognised. My goal is to play with confidence, work hard, have fun and win as a team.”
The championships will run from 19–26 August.