Neto and Kaka Coaching Masterclass

Kaka and Neto Inspire England Futsal Prospects with Brazilian Flair

By James Radford

Gazprom UGRA head coach and former Brazil international Paulo Ricardo ‘Kaka’ was joined by current FIFA Futsal World Cup winner and Player of the Tournament Dovenir Domingues ‘Neto’, as they delivered a futsal master class to a lucky few in Hammersmith, London.

The evening consisted of a question and answer session, in which both Kaka and Neto responded to open questions from captivated listeners. When asked why he plays futsal, Neto replied:

When I began playing futsal it was like god chose it for me and so I committed to it and began to practise more. I played football and futsal together, but I had to make the choice of pursuing one or the other. It was easy to choose football because of the financial incentives, but I enjoyed futsal the most and so I was happy to choose futsal.”

Kaka also explained the difference between a futsal player and a football player:

Futsal and football are two completely different sports. The only similarity is that the ball is played with the feet. The characteristics of futsal are different to football and futsal players show different intelligence to football players. For example, professional futsal players must know around 30 different set-pieces and a football player doesn’t need to remember this many.”

When asked how they thought futsal could grow on a grand scale in this country, both were quick to respond, with Kaka stating:

It will take a while for futsal to become popular and played professionally here. The level of futsal in England will improve when its is practised by an increased number of English participants. Outside investment is needed for futsal to grow on a large scale. For example, when Neto began playing futsal he funded himself through his own endorsements. As league structures improved, outside investors took more notice and made him offers.”

He added that lessons can be learnt from how Spain and Russia have adopted futsal, where there is less significance for providing the top facilities to play futsal in, as it is more important to initially get as many people involved as possible. When participation has grown improvements can be made.

Neto added:

In Spain, they started with an average involvement level in futsal. Then they started to invite professional Brazilian players to play in their leagues because they believed these players had something to teach them. High investment was not important here, as these players were not the star names of Brazilian futsal. Afterwards the level of futsal in Spain increased and they won the Futsal World Cup with Spanish players.”

Both strongly affirmed that futsal in any country must start at an early age in schools, in order to enhance the base for future participation. Kaka stated how Neto had played futsal constantly since he was 5 years old. He is now currently recognised as the best futsal player in the world.

Afterwards, the audience were invited to train with Neto in a technical-based session organised by Kaka himself. Participants had the opportunity of recreating Neto’s World Cup Final goal, as well as challenging their skills against him in a one-on-one scenario. Towards the end of the session both Kaka and Neto involved themselves in mini-games where they displayed a mere glimpse of their intellect and composure in play – acquired from many years of futsal practise.

At the end, the pair were quick to congratulate participants on their efforts and were encouraged by the progress English futsal players are making. Both stated that they would be happy to return to England again in the near future, as the sport continues to grow in popularity!