Netherlands’ Captain Samir Shares Futsal Stories
Having represented Netherlands National Futsal Team for 120 times, Netherlands’ Captain, Samir Makhoukhi is currently the 4th highest International-capped player in Netherlands’ All-Time record, slightly behind the 11-aside’s Edwin van der Sar (130 caps), Netherlands
Having represented Netherlands National Futsal Team for 120 times, Netherlands’ Captain, Samir Makhoukhi is currently the 4th highest International-capped player in Netherlands’ All-Time record, slightly behind the 11-aside’s Edwin van der Sar (130 caps), Netherlands Women’s Team’s Kiesel Griffioen (156 caps) and Stephan Lokhoff (173 caps) of Netherlands CP Team.
Junpiter Futbol caught up with the FCK de Hommel’s player exclusively in Singapore recently as he shared his futsal stories, the futsal league in Netherlands and his advice for Singapore National Futsal Team..
JPF: You have 120 International Caps under your belt, is there any other thing or goal which you have left undone at the International level?
SM: I take pride in representing my country so my goal is to always outdo what I am doing now. Even at the International level, I just hope to continue to represent my country for as long as I can, be it for the European Championship or World Cup. To be very honest since you are asking me this question, my very current goal is to overtake Edwin van der Sar’s 130 International caps.
JPF: Which has to be your most memorable futsal memory in your career so far?
SM: There are actually 2 memories. The first is the 2005 UEFA Futsal Championship in Czech Republic where Netherlands finished off in the 5th position. The second is in 2007 where my team, FCK de Hommel took home the National Championship. Incredible feeling.
JPF: We have met and interviewed players like Edward Van Gils, Issy Hitman (Ismael Hamdaoui), Khalid Hamdaoui, Jermaine Vanenburg and all of them have shared with us how wonderful playing futsal is, so in your own opinion can you share with us more about futsal?
SM: To me, futsal is everything a football lover will love and be passionate about. Futsal is a small sided game and because of that, all players will get more touches and that equivalent to playing more football which also enhance players’ skills. You can sit at an 11-aside game for 90 minutes but not seeing any goal or any action but that will not happen to futsal. Every attack, corner, goal-kick and defend, there will be something happening! It’s just a wonderful game.
Samir Makhoukhi (right) celebrating after Netherlands qualified for Belgium 2014 UEFA Futsal Championship (Photo: Samir Makhoukhi’s Facebook)
Samir Makhouhki (middle) in action for Netherlands National Futsal Team for 120 times (Photo: Samir Makhoukhi’s Facebook)
JPF: How have playing professional futsal changed your life?
SM: Playing professional futsal has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of people and also see the World. I am traveling to some countries which I have never thought that I would be traveling to. For example, beside Europe, I have played futsal in South Africa during the World Cup 2010. I was in Dubai and Kuwait playing in some tournaments and I was even playing in front of 10,000 crowd in Brazil too.
JPF: You are currently playing for FCK de Hommel in the Dutch National Futsal League, able to share with us more about the Futsal League in Netherlands?
SM: Dutch National Futsal League is made up of 12 teams of 10-12 registered players per team. At the end of a regular competition, top 4 teams will have a Play-off with the 4th team playing against the 1st, 3rd will take on the 2nd. After which, there will be a best of Three series.
To keep the competition going strong, there are also 2 Division II, North & South where 1 Champion will emerge from these North & South, and will be promoted to the top Division.
Most of the teams have their own futsal academies in which they develop their own futsal players. Some even have women’s teams. Having said that, our League is still a semi-professional League where the players only train twice a week. Some of our players are also representing professional football (field) teams too.
Our Football Association (KNVB) is trying very hard to professionalize the Futsal League like what some of the other European countries are already doing but it is not easy. Futsal has to compete with Eredivise’s 11-aside game which obviously is a more popular game in Netherlands. All Eredivise teams see Futsal League as a competition but we hope to convince them that countries like Brazil or Spain also have professional 11-aside teams which has futsal division which it will only be a good thing for the players. It has also proven, futsal is good for the technique and tactics development.
JPF: Tell us more on how you feel about Asian futsal.
SM: I have played against many Asian countries such as Japan, China, Malaysia & Thailand, I actually see that Asians have the best attributes to excel in futsal. In another word, Asian players are the most suitable players to play futsal as they are light & fast. Not only that, Asians have this unbelievable match fitness which we, Europeans can’t match.
The Asians are always able to condition themselves very well that they can press their opponent very high and strongly throughout the entire match. By adopting such a high-pressing game strategy, it certainly gives their opponent a hard time. 2 years ago, we played against China in a tournament. Technically and tactically, we were more superior than the Chinese but physically, they were far more advanced. They were able to compete at a much higher tempo for a longer period of time as compared to us who were only able to peak a few times during the game.
Junpiter Futbol’s Jun Tan meeting up with Samir Makhouhki in Singapore
Samir Makhouhki presented Junpiter Futbol with one of his own full Netherlands National Futsal Team training kits as souvenir
JPF: Currently, Singapore is in the midst of forming a National Futsal Team. Do you have any advice or suggestion for Singapore?
SM: Hire the right coach with the right knowledge to kick start the whole futsal development. One great example is Thailand. When we first played against Thailand 7 years ago, they were just an average team. After their Dutch coach, Victor Hermans took over since 2012, Thailand is a different team now – they have progressed and developed into one of the powerhouses in Asia. By the way, where Singaporeans normally play futsal? (JPF: Basketball court..) Excellent! That’s exactly the same as a futsal court, 40metres by 20metres. In that case, Singapore does have the right pool of futsal talents since most of them are conditioned and customized to play in the right court’s size – shorter distance, shorter passes and quick decision making are what futsal is all about. Lastly, have more training. I know some of the futsal teams in Japan’s Professional Futsal League, F-League trains up to 3 times a day. National Team might not have the luxury of time to have all the players together but training is an important criteria move the team up to another higher level.
JPF: Based on your experience of playing against Asian teams, what kind of play or strategy should Singapore futsal team be adopting?
SM: There are a couple of formations in futsal but probably the most popular one for European countries is 1-3-1, which is a Goalkeeper, 3 Defenders/Midfielders and a Pivo (target man) where all the ball will be passed to him and he will lay off to the rest of the running men. However, in Southeast Asia you might not get that kind of Pivo where he is huge enough to hold the ball upfront alone, especially playing against bigger European teams. So I reckon the most ideal formation for Asian countries is 1-0-4. Apart from the Goalkeeper, the four other players will constantly switching positions by running and passing and running again.
JPF: Any advice for a player who wants to play professional futsal?
SM: I think that’s really a good thing. Futsal is a kind of game where you will learn to make quick decision within a square metre and 2 steps in advance. Even if you are to switch from futsal to an 11-aside game, it will be beneficial too. Look at most of the top players from Barcelona, Real Madrid and etc, all of them started playing futsal before moving to the field game. Neymar, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, everybody is saying the same story of himself playing futsal and that made them who they are today. So who are we to say futsal is not good?