Kazakhstan beckons for rising futsal star

01 June 2018
Hannah Kraakman playing futsal
Hannah Kraakman (R) in action

Recent Arts graduate Hannah Kraakman is preparing to represent New Zealand in the fastest growing sport in New Zealand: Futsal.

The 22-year-old from Pukekohe is one of nine University of Auckland students selected to play at the World University Futsal Championship, being held in August in the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Futsal is a form of football, usually played on an indoor court with five-a-side players, and is particularly popular within University sporting tournaments.

"Futsal is fast paced and you always get a chance to attack. The tactics are very different to football and I enjoy learning new ways to play. Everyone is so passionate and encouraging," she says.

Hannah, who also represents New Zealand in the national women's Futsal Ferns, graduated from the University of Auckland earlier this month with a Bachelor of Arts, making her eligible to play in this year's international university tournament.

New Zealand is sending a men's and women's team to the worlds, both led by the coaches of the University of Auckland teams – Marvin Eakins and Nic Downes.

So far 24 nations have confirmed their registration for the 2018 FISU World University Futsal Championship including Brazil, China, Spain, France, Germany and the United States.

"Kazakhstan is not a country I thought I would ever visit so it's pretty awesome to get the chance. I am very excited to see what it is like in Almaty and to experience a new culture," Hannah adds.

Her team will take part in intensive training camps to be held at the University of Auckland in July and early August before departing for Kazakhstan on 16 August.

The competition is self-funded and Hannah is seeking sponsorship to travel to the event.

Study for a Bachelor of Arts