【Special Interview with Arthur OLIVEIRA & Leo SILVA】”To experience the world's top level”
12 September 2022
The Japan Futsal National Team will play international friendly matches against the Brazil Futsal National Team on Thursday 15 and Sunday 18 September. Here we have interviewed two players who both grew up playing futsal in Brazil, Arthur OLIVEIRA (Nagoya Oceans) of the Japan Futsal National Team and Leo SILVA (Nagoya Grampus), who is in his tenth year in the J-League.
○This interview was conducted online on 30 August 2022
――Are the two of you acquainted with each other?
OLIVEIRA Unfortunately, we have not been able to meet in person so far, but I know him well as a footballer.
SILVA I like futsal a lot, so I know how strong Nagoya Oceans are, and I also know about him and his play style. His father was a coach of the Brazil Futsal National Team and is a very well-known coach with excellent results. I still watch the Brazilian Futsal League matches whenever possible and it is an honour to be able to talk with coach PC de Oliveira's son, Arthur.
――What is futsal like in Brazil?
OLIVEIRA In Japan, most people start playing football in primary schools, but in Brazil it is common to start playing futsal first. Therefore, there is a natural interest in the Brazil Futsal National Team. In terms of raising the level of competition, I think there needs to be more opportunities for children to be exposed to futsal from an early age, and if more teams like the Brazil Futsal National Team come to Japan and show a high level of competition, interest in futsal in Japan may increase.
SILVA Right. I also started playing futsal instead of football. I played futsal from the age of seven to 15. My mates at the time still say to this day, “We thought you were going to be a futsal player, not a footballer.” I was also confident that I could succeed as a futsal player. On the other hand, I used to think that if I became a footballer I would be mediocre at best. Anyway, futsal is a very important aspect of my football career and I believe that I was able to become a footballer because of futsal.
――Recently, 8-a-side football and futsal have been introduced in primary school age groups in Japan. Do you feel this will have a positive impact on football in Japan?
OLIVEIRA As you can see from his example, it's a really good thing. Playing futsal helps to develop, among other things, a competitive spirit, a commitment to winning, the importance of winning and a sense of responsibility for one's own play. I feel that by giving children a sense of responsibility from an early age, they develop a competitive edge, and this gives them the power to seize big opportunities. I think this initiative in Japan would have great significance in the future.
SILVA I agree with him. I think it's very important to give children a sense of responsibility, which in turn will make them more competitive. I think this will lead to great growth for the children. By the way, please let me participate in the Nagoya Oceans' training next time.
OLIVEIRA Come and join us! J.League players can also play in the F.League, so come and play with us!
SILVA No, no, I can't keep up with players like you! I watched last year's FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2021™ matches and I think his play was instrumental in Japan’s advancement to the round of 16. You could see his tactical cleverness in reading the flow of the game, even through the TV. This time, I am very much looking forward to seeing the Japan-Brazil match again.
OLIVEIRA Although we lost in the last World Cup, we performed well and got the feeling that we can compete with teams like Brazil at the same level. This is a great opportunity for us to play Brazil before the AFC Futsal Asian Cup Kuwait 2022™ and we want to prove that the feeling we gained at the World Cup was not a fluke.
SILVA I usually feel frustrated when Brazil loses to another country, but Japan is different. I have been living in Japan for a long time, and Arthur plays for Japan, so I want to support Japan wholeheartedly. In fact, I am planning to bring my family to watch the match. For the Japan Futsal National Team, it will be an important preparation match for the Asian Cup, but at the same time, I think it will be the first time for many people to see the highest competition in the world. I think it's an important opportunity for people to get to know futsal, so I hope it will be a successful event, and if fans have the chance to go to the venue, I strongly encourage them to do so.
OLIVEIRA That's really nice to hear. My family will also be there to support me, and it is really encouraging to hear that you would be there too. It will be a great opportunity to prepare for the Asian Cup and it will be very valuable to play against one of the world's top teams. Please support us at the venue and on TV.
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