Basger, Aussies claim Cup double

Jarrod Basger skips past a New Zealand defender during the Trans-Tasman Cup. Photo: Masanori Udagawa/www.photosport.co.nz

JARROD Basger was part of the Futsalroos squad — Australia’s national team — that claimed two titles in a historic double triumph over the weekend in Wellington, New Zealand.

After sweeping New Zealand’s Futsal Whites in a three-game series to retain the Trans-Tasman Cup, the Futsalroos then eclipsed Malaysia 1-0 to claim the inaugural Commonwealth Cup.

Australia proved way too strong for the Kiwis, winning the opening game 4-2.

They then routed the home side 6-1 in game two, Basger contributing the green-and-gold’s third goal with an exquisite solo run from defence to attack before a clinical right-foot finish.

Basger, who stars back home in Sydney for the Eastern Suburbs Hakoah Futsal Club, told The AJN that results against our cross-Tasman neighbours have almost become a forgone conclusion.

“Trans-Tasman for the past three or four years has been a tournament where we are pretty expected to win every game,” Basger, 22, said after the tournament. “Although it’s nice to win all three games again, that is our expectation going in.”

A thrilling 3-2 win for the Aussies in the third game completed their landslide victory.

“They cling onto the hope they can win one of the games, or even get close,” he said. “In the third game they did get close – we had a pretty off night and they were happy with that result.”

With game three doubling as the opening game for the Commonwealth Cup, the Futsalroos advanced to take on Vanuatu, which turned into a 10-1 whitewash.

“We’ve only played Vanuatu once before. As a bunch of street footballers that try skills to get you on the counterattack, we had to be mentally switched on for that game.

“But the grand final against Malaysia was the game we were all looking forward to.”

A tense contest unfolded against the Asian powerhouse, which are ranked in the top 10 for the region, with Basger saying the 1-0 score line didn’t reflect the Futsalroos relative ease in securing their second piece of silverware.

“Malaysia put up a good challenge,” he said. “I had three or four goal scoring opportunities I should have taken, so I don’t think the score line is the truest reflection of the game, but it was definitely the toughest game we had.”

Next week Basger and the Maccabi Australia futsal team leave for Berlin’s European Maccabi Games, including a pre-camp in Thailand, and he paid tribute to mentor John Myers for making his extraordinary journey possible.

“When I stopped played outdoor at 18, it was because of [the 2011 European Maccabi Games in] Vienna,” he said.

“It was a good opportunity to travel at the time, and I never thought that twice, three times year I would be travelling for futsal.

“It’s pretty amazing but I think without the help of John Myers none of it would be possible for me. He brought me in, drove the whole process and still supports us now in every aspect.”

ADAM BLAU