March 16. 2012
AUCKLAND – Wellington hosts the final round of the 2011/12 ASB National Futsal League this weekend with the local side part of a scramble for the final three playoff places.
Heading into the league’s climax at ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie, Auckland Football’s AFF-East City Futsal are already assured of a presence in Sunday’s semi-finals. They have blazed a perfect nine-from-nine winning record, and an unassailable 11 point lead, across the first two rounds in Dunedin and Auckland respectively.
But below the leaders, four teams are battling to join them with Mainland Futsal in the box seat to claim second spot with 16 points from their nine games two ahead of a Central Futsal Manawatu side looking to claim a second straight appearance in the playoffs.
On ten points, with a game in hand, is a mercurial Futsal South looking for a resurgence in form to confirm a top four spot but in reality they are the most at threat from fifth placed Capital Futsal who have so far failed to reproduce the form that saw them finish as last season’s best performing kiwi side.
Capital have home court advantage and games against the bottom two sides – NFF-Futsal Massey and Central Futsal Hawke’s Bay – in their final run-in, but it’s the clash against Futsal South on Saturday night they could yet prove decisive.
New Zealand Football’s futsal development manager Dave Payne says the league contested by seven federation-based teams is finely balanced.
“After the surprises in series one and two, teams have learnt not to take anything for granted,” Payne said.
“Capital are at home and we’ve seen that the importance of that reflected in results over the first two weekends but the teams above them have points on the board already and therefore can control their own fate.”
The series will be streamed live www.nzffutsal.co.nz and Sky Sports will screen highlights packages of the final round robin matches in early April and the finals on April 9.
For standings, stas, fixtures and this series' media guide click here.