5 Feb 2016

Sport: NZ tipped to win Oceania Futsal Champs

12:36 pm on 5 February 2016

New Zealand is being tipped as a hot contender to win next week's Oceania Futsal Championship.

The Futsal Whites haven't won the regional title, finishing runners-up in 1992 and 2004.

They finished third at the last OFC Championship in 2011, with Solomon Islands four-time defending champions, having represented Oceania at the last two World Cups.

Fiji have a rare spell in possession against New Zealand.

Fiji and New Zealand met in a three-test series last year. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fiji coach Intiaz Khan lost a three match series in New Zealand in December and said he was impressed by their development.

"Before we were beating them always but they have dramatically, really developed and done hard work over the last four to five years and I salute them. This championship will be competitive because, just like sevens [rugby], it is becoming very competitive throughout the world and for Oceania in futsal it is growing and a day will come that we may be matching Australia as well."

The Oceania Champs begin Monday in Suva, with the overall winner to qualifying for the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Colombia in September.

The Kurukuru from Solomon Islands defend their title against Fiji, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Tahiti and Vanuatu.