Columns Estêvão Cordovil
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Futsal & Football - The Lebanese Experience And Where The Real Dots Connect

It has been a topic of numerous scientific researches and discussions, but it has been widely proven that futsal can immensely benefit football players. Footballers usually train futsal when they are kids, deciding to focus on football in their teens for a number of reasons.

But what happens when futsal players, who already achieved fantastic results playing futsal, have to transfer to football, when they are already formed as futsal players?

In his latest column for FutsalFeed, Mr. Estêvão Cordovil tackles this very topic and conducts an interview with three Lebanese futsal players who had to migrate to football due to the decreased volume of futsal in their country.


There is a lot of discussions nowadays about the relation between Futsal and Football.

It seems that football players benefit from the practice of futsal in their progress. There are numerous cases of players with high technical level and decisional quality, with their roots in futsal, players with high quality in their relationship with the ball, and the ability to play at a touch in small spaces and/or with a high density of players.

“In countries like Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, and Spain, it is normal for young players to grow up playing futsal, and even those that switch to football credit their skills to the small-sided game – stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, and Wissam Ben Yedder, who played futsal for France before being capped in 11-a-side” UEFA WEBSITE - What is futsal? A beginner's guide | Futsal Champions League |

>>> Top 10 Footballers Who Played Futsal!

There is a clear approximation of some tactical concepts of futsal, namely when attacking defenders who play in zone, and its tactical transfer to football, particularly when attacking a lower defensive block and with the defensive lines near.

There is a strong line of scientific research that has referenced numerous benefits in the training of small-sided games (conditioned or reduced) that closely resemble the dynamics of space-time training and futsal play.

And the reverse? Football players who end up experiencing futsal at the earliest stage of their careers and become reference players?

There are also cases, for example, as two top players in Portugal, where futsal even has youth teams and training structures, such as Fabio Cecilio from Benfica and national team and recently player Candoso, the top scorer of the regular phase. The attackers make good pivots with good finishing ability (the goal of futsal is always much closer than in football), the lateral defenders and midfielders make good wingers, the good defensive central and middle defenders fixed and the average, good offensive midfielders.

Some top futsal players also tried to make the leap in the late stages. Falcão experienced different clubs such as Corinthians, Palmeiras, Portuguesa, Sao Paulo. In 2007, Ricardinho at Benfica was on the news, neither ended up exchanging futsal for football, even with the most attractive economic power of football.

>>> Futsal and Football, how to use the talented player to obtain numerical superiority

But what if they really had to migrate to football?

A sequence of events ended up making some Lebanese players have to exchange futsal for football, with the help of Tarek Rizk, former assistant coach of the Lebanese national team we present the interviews with 3 players who played at the highest level futsal in Lebanon and Asia at senior level before transfer to Football:
Alee Sisi, Khaled Tajaki and Eddy Chehadeh.

What was the result? Watch the videos at the end of the interview.


  • How was your career in Futsal?

Alee Sisi – "Briefly, my career in futsal was more than successful. I played on the international level with the National Team AND Bank of Beirut. We won many competitions in Lebanon, Middle East, and Asia (more than 20 titles including league, Supercup, West Asia Champions with National Team or 3rd Position in Asian Club Championship with Bank of Beirut). I think I'm the top scorer of Lebanon NT since its beginning in Futsal."

Khaled Tajaki – "Regarding my career I started futsal in my 20’s and I won many trophies, one of them is the Best Player in Arab World and I was chosen among the all-star players of futsal and played in Brazil."

Eddy Chehadeh – "I had a great career in Futsal. I won 2 championships and it’s a beautiful game since I'm a skillful player. I love futsal."

  • Why did you switch from futsal to football?

Alee Sisi – "I switched to football because futsal decreased in volume in Lebanon, especially after Bank of Beirut left the game, and I wanted to move again to football with a big club (where I played before). It was a challenge to myself to prove to everyone that I could shine on a football pitch equally as futsal."

Khaled Tajaki – "The main reasons to leave futsal were some criticism in the media that futsal had less exposure than football and Futsal in Lebanon wasn’t promising a secure future like football."

Eddy Chehadeh – "I left futsal because football in Lebanon and worldwide is more known and supported. I used to follow international leagues and I played football in the 3rd division before futsal. But when I got the opportunity to go back to football I left futsal."

  • How did futsal help you in Football?

Alee Sisi – "Futsal helped me a lot to boost my skills with the ball, to think faster in small spaces. Many famous Brazilian players started from 5-a-side pitches and moved to shine in the biggest world football leagues."

Khaled Tajaki – "As for advantages of being a futsal player, your technical skills will be higher, you will learn to think faster, which can help you a lot in the football field."

"So, I invite all young talents to start with futsal to get the best basics and skills. Again, I can give the example of many Brazilian clubs where the players start also with futsal and then decide which game they play"

Eddy Chehadeh – "As for what I gained from futsal... being skillful and having more relation with the ball improved my skills a lot. In football now I’m faster, more explosive, with more power in acceleration, also faster in thinking... all these benefits can be obtained with futsal."

"I’m sure that futsal can be a strong foundation for football. Many examples in the world proved this. Some of the best players in the world as Ronaldinho, Robinho, and many others have shined in Football due to Futsal."

"Futsal is a must for being a great Football player."

Alee Sisi's winning goal in the Derby of Beirut:

A proper futsal goal in football match by Khaled Tajaki:

Eddy Chehade's futsal moves during a football match:

We remind you that this was a difficult year for Lebanon. With Corona putting more pressure on a social and economic crisis, and struck by the terrible Beirut Explosion last August, these interviews reveal the character and resilient personality of their citizens and we wish the best for the players and all Lebanese people.

Due to Corona and to Asian Football Confederation's decision, Lebanon is one of the four teams (Lebanon vs Vietnam and Thailand vs Iraq) who will play for the 2 remaining spots for the Futsal World Cup in Lithuania, in the qualifiers in 20 and 24 May. Already qualified to the Futsal World Cup by AFC's decision are Iran, Japan, and Uzbekistan.


Recently Marquinhos Xavier, Brazilian National Team Head Coach, developed in his master's thesis a study with futsal athletes who moved to football, which we will discuss in detail in next month's article, but we would like to leave one of the conclusions:

"Within the scope of the approach that refers to the adaptations caused by the transition from futsal to football, some facilities were reported, such as: decision-making, quick responses to the problem of the game, quality in technical aspects (passes, ball driving and finishing), tactical aspects on positioning and displacement on the pitch. A special highlight was evidenced regarding learning without ball possession, mentioned as an important contributor to futsal due to the interaction of systems worked since initiation in the modality."

>>> Futsal and Football, the perfect fusion

In my opinion, the relationship between both sports is clear. Training methods and game dynamics have important skills transfer, surely understanding and studying, it is possible to add to current training processes.

They seem to me to be evident in the transfer from Futsal to Football:

  • Technical benefits in dribbling, controlling, and passing over short distances.
  • Tactical benefits in understanding the game at one touch and problem-solving in reduced spaces, and relations between 2 and 3 players.
  • Physical Benefits over Short Acceleration and COD, Repeated Sprints Ability.

In reverse, from Football to Futsal:

  • Technical Benefits at the level of shooting, long-distance passes, and aerial play dominance.
  • Tactical Benefits, mainly verticality, ability to find an easy option to create a shooting option.
  • Physical Benefits: Aggression in duels, Unidirectional Speed, Endurance

And how do you see this relationship between Futsal and Football? What benefits does the training and practice specific to each modality have?

Stay tuned for next month's interview with Marquinhos Xavier over futsal to football learning transfer, skills acquisition, youth development!

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Estêvão Cordovil


Estêvão Cordovil


Estêvão Cordovil, is currently an assistant coach of Saudi Arabia National Team, former Kuwait National Team and C. F. Os Belenenses, Sassoeiros and AAUTAD (Portugal), Kaos Futsal (Italy), Yarmouk (Kuwait), Jaish (Qatar).

Master in Futsal Game analysis - Team Sports, currently PhD Student in Futsal Sport Science 
Futsal Courses - Associação de Futebol de Lisboa, CEFAD, One Sports
FutsalFeed, Futsal Science and Conditioning, Sports Training Blog, Zona Técnica
Ex Collaborator
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