FUTSAL is the Manning’s boom sport.
In five-a-side indoor soccer competition is currently played on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. Last summer Manning Futsal had 860 registered players and that number will be surpassed next season.
However, there’s a problem. The game doesn’t have a permanent home here. The majority of matches were played at Saxby’s Stadium across three nights – Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
However, Taree Basketball Association now requires the stadium on Fridays for representative training.
Manning Hockey Association, through president Deb Monck, has stepped in to assist, with futsal’s Friday competitions, including the popular mixed, to be played on the turf hockey fields. This will involve 35 teams in three divisions.
Manning Futsal president James Goldsmith is thankful for hockey’s offer. He said this will solve the problem in the short term. However, futsal is eventually going to need a permanent headquarters, he said.
Futsal is a long-term user of Saxby’s Stadium but James said Taree Basketball is perfectly within in its rights to annex the Friday nights.
“They’re trying to grow their sport, we can’t blame them for that,’’ he said.
Jane added that logistically it is difficult for the committee to run competitions at three venues – futsal also uses a court at Taree PCYC. The program on Wednesdays and Thursdays is already jammed – games start at 4pm with the last finishing at 9pm – so it would be impossible to add any fixtures at Saxby’s Stadium on Wednesday and Thursdays.
James said it will be a happy day if Taree Basketball is successful in gaining a grant to build a new indoor stadium in the area, which he hopes will include amenities for futsal.
“When you look at the sports that use Saxby’s Stadium – basketball, futsal and indoor netball, we’d supply 60 to 70 per cent of the players,’’ Jane added.
James said Taree also lacks an international size court for futsal. This means major championships can’t be played here. He’s just back from the State schools titles in Sydney while the Country Championships will be played at Port Macquarie this month.
Manning Futsal will send up to 14 teams to the national junior championships in the Penrith area next January. More than 20 players from this area gained selection in Australian sides this year and will be heading to various places around the globe. Organising times and a venue for the Manning teams to train is also likely to present difficulties.
Utilising the now empty Masters Store at Taree south would be a ‘pipe dream,’ Jane said.
“But any development is going to be a multi-million dollar job,’' James said.
The committee has had preliminary talks with MidCoast Council about their problem although they are yet to meet with either local member regarding an application for funding.
Jane pointed out that futsal’s development here has been phenomenal. That doesn’t look like plateauing.
“The game’s not going to get smaller,’’ she said.
Manning Futsal will be glad to hear from anyone in the community who may have a solution to the dilemma.