Playing futsal for World Cup

Witney Gazette: ON THE BALL: Smooga director Keith Place, left, with Tower Hill Primary School pupil Kasey Griffin and Oxford United Women’s first team striker Natasha Caswell Buy this photo ON THE BALL: Smooga director Keith Place, left, with Tower Hill Primary School pupil Kasey Griffin and Oxford United Women’s first team striker Natasha Caswell

THE Brazil World Cup is still more than a month away, but children at a Witney school have been getting ready by learning a South American version of football.

Coaches from Witney-based activities company Smooga and Oxford United Women’s first team players showed the Tower Hill Primary School pupils how to play futsal, a game with roots in Brazil and Uruguay.

A small pitch made up of moveable barriers – called a smooga – was set up in the Moor Avenue school playground and they learned skills in one-on-one games.

Year Five pupil Kasey Griffin, 10, said: “It was good having an Oxford United player here who is really good at football and scores lots of goals.

“Playing in the smooga made it easier for me to score more goals as I could dribble and use the sides.”

Smooga director Keith Place said the activities formed part of the Government’s Moving More, Living More scheme to get children involved in sport.

He added: “We wanted to make the sport more inclusive for all the children so it’s not just the main eight lads dominating the space in the playground. The World Cup will be a great thing to get people’s imaginations fired up, so we got the children doing Brazilian skills.”

Oxford United Women striker Natasha Caswell added: “It was fantastic seeing a group of boys and girls enjoying the sessions and I hope we were able to inspire them enough to ensure they keep playing the sport in the playground.”

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