Australia’s representatives will bring more than just a dash of Futsal flair to this year’s continental showpiece for the Tiger Street Football tournament
Team Gaganiani will represent their nation after a stunning victory in the final of the first tournament to be held Down Under on Saturday.
The team comprises players who all feature in the elite Sydney Futsal league, and most notably a key member of the Australian team, Greg Giovenali.
In fact three Giovenali brothers are in the team - Wade and Rhys making up the trio - who won the tournament, with a drama-charged 6-5 victory in the second period of extra time against Red Dragons.
Against the backdrop of Sydney’s famed harbour, the team from Sydney won passage to November’s continental event bringing together the champions of March’s Cambodian-based event, plus future winners from Mongolia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and China.
But it could have been very different as Greg Giovenali told Goal.com moments after being presented with a cheque for USD $1,500 and their gold medals by Italy FIFA World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro.
“We just came for fun,” Giovenali said. “We didn’t expect to get this far and now we get to travel the world, it’s amazing.”
So modest were Team Gaganiani’s ambitions for the tournament they are unable to attend Sunday’s second and final day due to work commitments.
Somehow they threw away a 5-1 lead early in the second half of the final, only to prevail deep into extra time with a golden goal.
“I think we subconsciously thought we had it,” said Giovenali. “Credit to them (Red Dragons). It was a great final, end to end stuff.
“Incredible atmosphere here, it has everything football, great views and beautiful girls.
“The tournament organisation has been amazing, credit to Tiger for putting this one and I hope we can do it again.”
The final word though goes to Team Gaganiani goalkeeper Nick Starr, pre-empting some victory celebrations. “We will have an interesting night tonight that is for sure.”