Towards the end of last year we published an article about Joga Futsal Academy who were set to represent Scotland at the Squadra Cup, a competition set up by famous futsal club Squadra Mouscron featuring some of the most prestigious futsal clubs in Europe.
The main goal for the academy based in Glasgow was to gain valuable experience by playing against some of the toughest teams on the continent.
Now the competition is over and not only have Joga Futsal gained that experience, they have shown that they have the potential to compete with some of the best futsal academies in Europe.
In the group stage of the competition, the Joga Futsal boys were drawn into a group with Sporting Paris of France, Old Fox Fribourg of Switzerland and the hosts themselves Squadra Mouscron.
First up for the boys was Squadra Mouscron and in their first ever international game, they were unfortunately defeated 1-0. A disappointing result but an encouraging one considering the calibre of their opponents.
Next up was Old Fox Fribourg. The Swiss side are celebrating their 10-year anniversery during this 2017-18 and Joga Futsal somewhat spoiled the party with an incredible 6-2 victory to give themselves a real chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The boys knew that a win in their final group game against Sporting Paris would guarentee them top spot in the group and a place in the final eight of the tournament.
Nerves got the better of the team in the opening stages of the match but they battled back to secure a 1-1 draw and while that did not give them first place, it did ensure them a place in the quarter-finals where they were set to take on Spanish side F6 Barcelona.
It was here that Joga Futsal put in arguably the best performance of their tournament when they took on the Barcelona side and managed to beat them 4-1 and secure a place in the semi-finals.
A place in the final was now a realistic possibility and all that was standing in their way was Belgian side Antwerp. It would prove to be a step too far for the youngsters as they were beaten 4-0. That meant they had to settle for a place in the third place play-off against Old Fox Fribourg.
There was to be no repeat of the 6-2 result earlier in the competition unfortunately as they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by the Swiss side.
It was a disappointing end for Joga Futsal but no one can take away the fantastic achievement of the players in what was their first ever international tournament and that sentiment was shared by those at Joga Futsal on their Facebook page.
"From a futsal aspect, we have competed with teams from all over Europe and managed wins against Swiss and Spanish sides whilst competing with top French and Belgian sides. We have managed to watch some of the highest quality futsal matches the boys will have ever seen, in particular the older age groups. Can be really proud of their efforts on the court in representing Joga and Youth Futsal in Scotland.
"More importantly for me is skills away from the court in which they will have developed and meeting kids from other counties, building friendships, learning new cultures and even creating a great bond between themselves as team mates (some had barely met before we travelled), memories they will never forget and I am sure I will never forget. Also to the parents who had been absolutely first class, couldn’t thank you enough for your time and support (Dads are signed up for next year already again).
"We as a futsal academy have now put ourselves on the map and built some great relationships with teams across Europe which will only enhance our profile. A number of high profile futsal academies have already invited us over and we will be announcing plans soon. . ."
Congratulations to Shaemus Brannigan, Aodan Brannigan, Arran Hughes, Cooper Knox, Lewis Mackle, Joseph Smith and Marc Wilkie on a wonderful tournament and we look forward to seeing what you can achieve in the future.