Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Deco and Hernan Crespo are among the illustrious former stars set to take part in the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier Futsal League.
Six teams, including Scholes' Bengaluru Royals and a Mumbai Warriors squad featuring Giggs, will contest matches at two different venues before the semi-final and final are played out in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Here is the schedule information for the tournament, per PremierFutsal.com:
Dates: Friday, September 15-Sunday, October 1
Venues: Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Chennai, Tamil Nadu; and Peddem Sports Complex, Mapusa, Goa
The obvious prediction for the tournament is for more shots, goals and skills than any traditional match. Numbers from the Mumbai Indians official Twitter account show how much more open and attacking futsal is in comparison:
More than the numbers, though, futsal matches are defined by moments of impish skill. This is a mixture of street football and beach football, a format where improvisation is rewarded.
Clips from last year's tournament, relayed by the Premier Futsal Twitter account, show the kind of skills viewers will be treated to:
As for who has the strongest squad, the reigning champions are Mumbai, led by former Manchester United great Giggs. One of the most skilful wingers of his generation, the former Wales international's natural flair is the perfect fit for this format.
It's a similar story for Deco, who will lead the Telugu Tigers. A classy schemer during a decorated career with FC Porto, Barcelona and Chelsea, his vision and quality will make him one of the highlights of the tournament.
The 40-year-old former Portugal international is a good pick to be player of the tournament once everything is settled.
Yet, neither Deco nor Giggs will be part of the ultimate winners. Instead, it's Crespo's Chennai who boast the strongest squad.
The former Argentina international will finish as top scorer for a team ready to unseat Mumbai as champions.
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