In playing their part in futsal’s Olympic debut at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, the ten teams in the women’s competition are also making a little history of their own, contesting the very first global women’s futsal tournament.
The ground-breaking competition got under way with two matches at 14.00 local time on Sunday 7 October. The four teams taking a giant step for the discipline were Spain and Bolivia, who faced off at the Futsal Main Stadium, and Cameroon and Dominican Republic, who were in action at CeNARD Hall, with both venues welcoming large crowds for what was a momentous occasion.
And the honour being the first player to score at an official global women’s futsal competition fell to Spain’s Noelia de las Heras, who tapped into an empty net from a Teresa Montesinos pass to put her side ahead after five minutes and 46 seconds of their Group C match with the Bolivians.
Better known as Noe, the 16-year-old De la Heras went on to add three more goals as a slick Spain side eased to a 9-2 defeat of the South Americans, who nevertheless acquitted themselves well and rewarded their many supporters with a couple of second-half goals.
Over at the CeNARD Hall, meanwhile, Cameroon took a ninth-minute lead against their Caribbean opponents, as Linda Tchomte set the Africans on the way to a 9-1 win in their Group D opener. Tchomte completed a quick-fire hat-trick four minutes later, while Colette Ndzana also helped herself to three goals. Claiming a little piece of history for the Dominicans was Karla Muñiz, who scored her country’s first goal in a major international competition of any kind.
The goals continued to come thick and fast in the day’s two remaining games in the women’s competition. Portugal romped to a 15-2 win over Chile to earn themselves three points, top spot in Group D, and a big round of applause from the fans at the CeNARD. The Portuguese had no fewer than 101 goal attempts across the 40 minutes of play, with five of their goals coming from Fifó, and Martinha and Beatriz Sanheiro both contributing hat-tricks.
Meanwhile, a strong Thailand side put 14 goals past Trinidad and Tobago without reply. The star performer for the Asian side was Ladawan Klinbunkaew, who struck four times in all as they moved ahead of Spain at the top of Group C.
The women’s competition continues on Monday 8 October, with Japan taking on Cameroon in their first game, and Bolivia facing Tonga, another nation making their major international tournament debut. The top two sides in each group will advance to the semi-finals, to be played on Monday 15 October, with the bronze and gold medal matches taking place two days later.