It has not all been plain sailing for Arzan Todywalla in his bid to wear the Silver Fern, but the talented youngster will finally get to realise his dream at the 2017 OFC Youth Futsal Championships.
Todywalla was one of 10 selected for Marvin Eakins’ New Zealand U-18 Men’s Futsal team this month to compete at the OFC Youth Futsal Championships.
“I was speechless when Marvin called me and informed me of my selection. I am excited and honoured to be a part of the New Zealand U-18 side and very grateful to the coaches Marvin and Bakr for believing in me,” he said.
Eakins is a familiar face to Todywalla, with the two being team mates in Auckland Football Federation (AFF) Futsal’s National League side, so the Futsal White’s captain has seen first-hand what Todywalla can do.
“He scored some crucial goals against really good teams in the Men’s National League for AFF; Physically and technically he has the ability to cause any defenders problems.
“Those that know Todywalla know how dedicated he is to the round ball which gives him a professional attitude to the game. This will be great for a National team environment.”
It is Todywalla’s second stint at aiming for National honours, the first coming in the outdoor game as he eyed up the OFC U-17 Championships in Tahiti.
“I was part of the wider New Zealand U-17 squad in 2016 but unfortunately I got dropped due to injury so I did not get the opportunity to participate in the World Cup qualifiers earlier this year,” he said.
The heartbroken teenager did not give up and wisely transformed all his anger and passion into every Futsal match.
His determination and hard work paid off in the end and he will get to don the Silver Fern from October 4 when the qualifiers for the Youth Olympic Games kick off.
“Arzan was speechless and had goose bumps when Marvin called and informed him of his selection,” his father Viraf Todywalla said.
“This news meant the world to him. We had not seen him this happy for a while, he was passionate both on the field and the court again; His passion to play for his country is so strong, he was so happy as if he had already won the tournament.”
For Todywalla, his goal is simple. To win.
“My goal for the tournament is to give 110% every game and bring home the OFC U-18 Youth Futsal Championship Cup. I am looking forward to gain the utmost experience and try and make my nation, New Zealand, proud.”
Steph Trowill is Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Auckland Football Federation
An Amazing Futsal Player speeds towards professional goal
Arzan has some key attributes that give him the potential to be an amazing Futsal player. He is driven on and off the court and has huge family support.
His shooting ability as well as his power and pace make him difficult to play against.
Each time he is on the court he is learning and improving. Really exciting player to watch and worth keeping an eye on in the tournament and beyond!
Futsal is here and established in New Zealand. It has over 20,000 active players across the country and is the fastest growing high school sport in New Zealand, with 327% growth in the last six years. Futsal will continue to grow and with four international teams the pathway is very clear for aspiring players.
With Futsal being one of the key areas of focus, New Zealand Football is committing resource to helping the game develop further. All football federations have fulltime Futsal staff who work on growing the community space as well as the talented players.
Unheard of Competition
The competition for both teams is a bit of an unknown as this is the first of its kind.
Several OFC countries are working hard to develop the game in their respective countries and the players that will be taking part will no doubt be the result of the time they are putting into their programmes.
All the countries will have exciting Futsal players and they will all think that they will have a chance to win the competition!
Marvin Eakins is Futsal Development Officer at Auckland Football Federation.
Passion grows taller than the man
Arzan’s passion for Soccer is as strong as his professionalism and Arzan has been playing not only for teams of his age but also for older teams.
The first international highlight in Arzan’s career occurred in 2014, when he was selected for trials at the Birmingham City Football Club. It was an opportunity that very few youngsters would ever achieve at that stage. Looking at his immense potential, the Birmingham Football Club coaches selected him to play two games on behalf of their club.
His team won both games and Arzan scored two goals in his debut game, amongst a team of very talented international young players.
Last year, the Birmingham Football Club invited Arzan again for three weeks of elite training and the opportunity to play for them again. The Club again won all three games and Arzan scored significant goals in two games, evincing the interest of coaches and officials.
International coaches and selectors are beginning to recognise the immense talent of this teenager and recognise him as the ‘Goal Machine.’
Arzan trains throughout the week and his parents and sister Afreen are very supportive of the youngest member of the family. They sacrifice their time to help him reach various clubs throughout Auckland to play soccer.
As a student at the prestigious Saint Kentigern College in Auckland, he is the Striker for the School Team and for Fencibles United AFC, his Football Club.
Arzan Todywalla in action against Southern United in the Men’s National League. Photo: Masanori Udagawa/ Photowellington.com