Five Dundee futsal players are preparing for a trip of a lifetime as they get set to represent Scotland at the IFA World Cup in China.
Dundee Futsal Club’s Gavin Ogilvie and Louie Anderson as well as Robert Black, Jordan Timmons and coach Eoin Boylan of Dundee West are to travel to Jiangmen with the squad next month.
Kicking off on August 19, the Scots are competing in what is an ‘unofficial’ World Cup run by the International Futsal Alliance.
As a testament to the growth of the sport in the area – similar to five-a-side football but played on an indoor court with a smaller, low-bouncing ball, narrower goals and a focus on close control – the four Dundonians make up a large part of coach Russell Taylor’s squad 11-strong squad.
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West’s young goalkeeper, 18-year-old Robert Black, is relishing taking part. The Monifieth lad said: “I’m looking forward to it.
“We’ve had a lot of training together and the team’s been gelling really well. We don’t really know much about the other teams but we’re full of confidence that we can beat anyone out there.”
West coach, and some-time goalkeeper, Boylan will assist Taylor and he expects the Dundee lads will cope well stepping into the unknown as they play Australia, India and Mexico in Group B.
He said: “I don’t know what the standard is. I think everybody is going to be quite unknown for us.
“There will be some very good teams, obviously, and there may be some difference in abilities, too.
“Some teams will be far more experienced than others.”
And, with the team not set to fly out until August 18, they are still looking for donations to help cover the costs of their once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Boylan added: “We’ve been aware of them doing World Cups before. There was the U/17 World Cup in Dundee a few years ago and I think they went across to Spain for the U/20s last year.
“A few of the boys from Dundee attended that for trials and it’s just progressed from there.
“The boys have got GoFundMe pages set up now looking for donations to help out. All support is appreciated.”
It’s been a long journey to reach this level for 28-year-old Jordan Timmons from St Mary’s.
Only starting out in the sport four years ago, and having to take a break from it due to his junior football commitments, he is planning on enjoying every moment of their Asian experience.
He said: “I played when it first started as a league at the Gardyne Campus of Dundee College.
“That was back before it was Dundee West and we were called Aldo’s All-Stars!
“I play junior football as well so it got quite hard to make it and I stopped playing for a couple of years. I’ve been back the last few seasons and trying to play as much as I can.
“The first couple of games in China will be about sussing the opponents out but we’re looking forward to it.
“We know a couple of boys in our squad that we’ve played against in the Super League play-offs and the Scottish Cup. It’ll be a decent standard.”
Youngest member of the group, 16-year-old Louie Anderson from Broughty Ferry, said: “I never thought this would happen after just four years playing.”
Visit ifaworldcup.com to find out more about sponsoring the boys.