JEWISH talent was on show at the 2017 Futsal National Championships held in Sydney last week, with five players representing three NSW teams that made grand finals. Two of the teams went on to become Australian champions. Chani Charak played a key defensive role for the U19 women’s NSW Metro Thunder, scoring one goal and preventing several others being scored against her team during the round robin stage.
The Thunder qualified for Sunday’s grand final with three wins and a 1-1 draw against NSW Metro Lightning. Chani, a 2016 East Coast Heat F-league representative and a former Mascot Vipers player, helped keep NSW Metro Lightning scoreless in the decider, which was a game of few scoring opportunities for their side. In a thrilling finish, NSW Metro Thunder was able to snatch a goal just two seconds before full-time.
In the U14 boys, Eastern Suburbs Hakoah Futsal Club players Ethan De Melo, Adam Strasser and Zac Sapsford starred for NSW Metro Thunder, which also finished as national champions. Their team finished undefeated in the round robin stage, with De Melo and Sapsford each scoring a goal in the opening game against Queensland Southern.
De Melo then scored a goal with 30 seconds left in NSW Metro Thunder’s 4-3 semi-final win against Queensland Metro. In the grand final, the Thunder held a narrow 2-0 half-time lead against the Solomon Islands, but went on to win 8-3. Sapsford scored two goals in the decider, while De Melo and Strasser contributed with one goal each.
Eastern Suburbs Hakoah Futsal Club president Daniel Sharp told The AJN, “To have three of our club’s players in the starting five in the top boys U14s team in the state, and for all of them to score a goal in the grand final win, is a testament to the boys’ skills, drive and focus, as well as to their amazing coach Adriano De Melo. Well done national champions – you made us all very proud.”
The three boys were a key part of the club’s U14s premiership winning season last year, and Sharp said three other members of their team were also selected to play for NSW Metro Thunder, but had overseas holiday commitments.
Sharp also congratulated the club’s player Jordan Weizman for her great form in the goalkeeping role for NSW Country North, which made the U15 girls’ grand final at the national championships, losing 3-0 to NSW Metro Lightning. Weizman’s team had two wins, a draw and a loss in the round robin stage, and recorded a 2-1 semi-final victory against NSW Metro Thunder.