The Calabria of 5-a-side football enjoys the Under 19 title


By John

The final a year ago at the Agsm Forum in Verona had left a bitter aftertaste on the Calabrian regional committee. The 4-2 defeat against Sicily, however, represented the laying of the first imperceptible brick towards winning the tournament played at home. On that Venetian afternoon in April 2023, Francesco Mendicino began to organize his revenge. That Under 19 title lost in a vibrant match had not been digested by the Cosenza coach who completed his revenge 13 months later.
In the “Young Calabria” laboratory, the 47-year-old coach – with important victories between C1 and C2 – he shaped his new group and returned to the event with a hunger for revenge that no other selection was able to quench.
The Calabrian Juniores has reconfirmed itself as a great reality in national futsal in recent years, results that have matured hand in hand with the global growth achieved by the regional movement, promoted by Piroxy in A, by Polisportiva Futura in A2 Élite and by Ecosystem Lamezia, now joined by Città di Acri (but one between Soverato and Blingink could soon be added), in A2.
The success. For Mendicino and for the committee of president Saverio Mirarchi and the futsal delegate Giuseppe Della Torre, the second victory was achieved – after the one in 2017, in Puglia – in the last five editions of the event (the tournament was suspended for three years due to the Covid-19 health emergency). A remarkable figure, especially if we also take into consideration the fragrant breath of freshness added by the qualification of vice champions of Italy obtained in 2023.
With the scratch of Reggio Calabria, the Calabrian Under 19 (25 goals scored and only 5 scored) – led, like seven years ago, to triumph by Mendicino – has reached regions such as Puglia, Campania and Tuscany in fifth place in the medal table for what concerns the category. Only Lombardy (3), Veneto (5), Sicily (7) and Lazio (8) have done better in the history of the “Tournament”.
Path. The Calabrian group had no hesitations. In the first two “Palattinà” matches, the Juniores immediately made their ambitions clear. On the first day, Andrea Alì and his teammates outclassed Cpa Trento 6-1. A match marked by Francesco Verardi's hat trick, Francesco Gentile's brace and Lorenzo Gallo's solo (Vivian scored for the rivals in the final part of the match). On the second day, then, he put a serious threat on the passage of the round by mistreating Lombardy (8-1), pierced three times by Verardi, twice by Alì and once by Gallo, Gentile and Giuseppe Tigani. The record was sealed with the final 0-0 against Puglia.
The direct elimination phase was the culmination of the apotheosis because Calabria continued to claim one victim after another, writing his masterpiece. In the quarter-finals it was Basilicata who tasted defeat (5-1). The Lucanians were ousted by Alì's encore and Gallo's trio (temporary 2-1 by Fortunato). The semi-final put Sicily on the path. But the Sicilians were no longer the kryptonite of Calabria, which, mindful of the experience of the Agsm Forum, contained its opponents. Verardi's goal, almost at the end (0-1), thus served revenge.
The last to surrender was the other island, Sardinia, affected by Alì's exploits, by Tigani's decisive center at the start of the second half and by Casti's initial own goal (Chignini and Murtino were the goals that brought the match to a close). rest with the score 2-2).