The World Mini Football Federation has 55 member countries worldwide. It's nowhere close to the 209 countries that play the purist version of the beautiful game and are affiliated to Fifa, but come 2015 and the interest in mini football could rise sharply.
"We are having our first mini football World Cup in February 2015 in the United States. It will be held across 12 cities, some of the biggest in the United States," said Filip Juda, president World Mini Football Federation. The 2017 Mini Football World Cup will be held somewhere in Europe.
Mini football, as a sport, has existed since 1969. Juda even has documentary evidence to support his claims but with just 55 members, including just three in Africa -- Kenya, South Africa and Morocco -- the sport is still in its infancy stage. "We are now trying to spread our reach far and wide. Africa and Asia are obvious targets," said Juda.
Juda is currently in Goa for the Asian Mini Football Conference which will be held at a city hotel, starting February 2. On the agenda is annointment of India as the Asian headquarters for the sport and plans to solidify the mini football movement. Mini football, as the name suggests, is similar to futsal but played outdoors on natural grass with fewer players -- nine players, six to play -- shorter goals and a smaller field (46x26) and a duration of 30 minutes each half with a 10 minutes break.
Recommended By Colombia "It's everybody's sport and for a continent like Africa where infrastructure is a problem, this can be just the right mix," said the WMF president, adding that in countries like Mexico, Israel and Czech Republic mini football is already an "accepted sport," approved by their respective ministry for sport. WMF is up against the collective might of big bullies Fifa, and it's no surprise that the world governing body for football was not encouraging when mini football sought its support.
Fifa, after all, does not like anyone stepping on its toes. "Mini football has it's own identity. Whether it's retired players, or those who do not have time to pursue football at a professional level, or those who do not have time for full-time football, everyone is welcome," said Juda. Are you game?