An Indian team reaching the finals of a world football tournament is rare.
Hyderabad Sporting FC has realised this ‘moment of pride’ by winning a ticket to play in the Neymar Junior’s Five World Final, which will be played in Instituto Projeto Neymar Junior in Praia Grande, in the southern coast of the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo. An initiative of the energy-drink brand Red Bull , the tournament is essentially a part of the social initiative started by the iconic Brazilian footballer - Neymar junior- through his organisation, Instituto Projeto Neymar.
For the feisty group of footballers from Hyderabad, the qualification to the World Finals came about in the National finals in Gurgaon in March, where they beat Kalina Rangers of Mumbai 3-0 to claim their right to meet Neymar in person. Apart from winning the crown in the finals, which will feature 53 national champions from across the globe, the winner will also play a friendly match against Neymar junior and his team of friends. The World Final will be held on July 7 and 8 and will be broadcast live on Red Bull TV .
“I would like everyone coming here to be happy. No matter what the result is, you should have fun, be happy. Enjoy Neymar Jr’s Five in whatever country you are,” the star Barcelona FC striker said in his message to the participants. The tournament is close to Neymar’s heart as its location in Sao Paulo is where he grew up playing football.
While Futsal is yet to pick up in a big way in the country, the shortened version of the game is becoming quite popular across the world. A five-a-side game, which encourages a player to have greater exposure to the ball, is considered to improve technique and speed of the player.
“The format for Neymar Jr’s Five is quite interesting. And this inspires Indian footballers like us to work hard and make the best of representing the country. We are looking forward to do well in Brazil,” says Emad Bin Naser, the player of the tournament.
Zubair Bin Sultan, Mohammed Zaidh Mohiuddin, Mohammed Khaseem and Salman Alkathery are the other four players in the team travelling to Praia Grande.