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29th May, 2022

Bright future ahead as Chris leads first-ever diabetic futsal side

Rob George 12th Aug, 2018

A FORMER Pershore footballer led the UK’s first ever all diabetic futsal team flew to Slovakia to compete in the European Futsal Championships.

Futsal is a modified form of football played with five players per side on a smaller, typically indoor, pitch with hockey-sized goals and a size four weighted ball.

Former Pershore Town midfielder Chris Bright led the side to Eastern Europe less than year after the famous five first kicked off.

Bright, a type one diabetic for 17 years, set up the team after being inspired on a trip abroad.

“I did a bit of research on the internet, made some connections and then flew out to watch the Portuguese futsal team play,” he said.

“Seeing those guys train really made me want to bring the sport back with me.”

After arriving home, he soon turned his attention to setting up, managing and playing for the UK team.

Eleven players with type 1 diabetes represented the UK at the tournament with most of them having only met a handful of times before.

“We had about three training sessions before we were on the flight to Slovakia so it’s easy to see how new we are to this,” said Chris.

In the end they finished in 11th out of a possible 17 with the eventual champions being Bosnia and Herzegovina.

A tough group featuring Russia, Italy and Portugal meant the United Kingdom crashed out of the group stage after losing every game.

In the bottom nine of the draw they won their first ever game vs Romania 3-0 which guaranteed finishing in the top 12.

“None of us left disappointed because there’s only so far you can get with a brand new team.

“A lot of the games were very close and we were very unlucky.”

The team’s aim over the next 12 months is to recruit more players, improve their game and get playing as many friendly games as they can.

Visit www.thediabetesfootballcommunity.com for more information about their journey.

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