When it comes to university futsal teams it’s hard not to notice that there is no diversity in the teams when it comes to the nationality of the players. Excluding our closest neighbors from the list, rarely will you have seen an Erasmus student playing in the Unisport futsal league.

Playing in the league myself, I can say from the first hand that I never played against a foreign exchange student and neither have most of the people I talked to. However, Aleraj, a student of veterinary medicine, said that he had played with an Erasmus student together in the team, but it was a short term partnership: “I can’t even remember his name to be completely honest”, said Aleraj adding that “He had no issues fitting in with the team because he was a good player, and that was all that mattered to us.” Aleraj also pointed out that: “Anyone who can help us win is welcome, no matter where they are from”. 

Lack of diversity isn’t just in relation to Uni futsal, not only from my experience but also talking to Tin Janin, who used to study at Faculty of Engineering before switching to Faculty of Economy. “I played for both the FSB and the Economy futsal team, as well as nine years across several football clubs in Zagreb, and I never trained with an Erasmus student or a player from a different country” stated Tin, adding that: “I just feel like they are too shy and afraid to even try and get into the teams because they are afraid of getting rejected”. Tin also agreed with the wide understanding that language is the biggest barrier: “Because everyone doesn’t speak English or German on a high enough level to make conversation”. 

Marko Bičić, the captain of the FPZG futsal team believes that it’s not the language that would cause the biggest problem as the whole team is fluent in English and there are players that know several languages. Marko puts the focus on the player’s personality: “If he’s a good person and can take a joke or two, I can see no problem in him joining our squad and having a good time”, he said while laughing: “We don’t like mood killers here!”.

Sebastian Sobota, a higher authority with greater experience in university futsal and the coach of the Faculty of Political science futsal team believes that foreign students definitely have a place in futsal teams and welcomes the possibility of working with them. “I never had the pleasure or the opportunity to work with an Erasmus student but I hope that this will change in the near future”, said Sobota who himself studied and got his degree at the Faculty of Political Science. When asked about what the possible barriers of joining a team are, he highlighted the language difference but added that: “A good player will find a way to fit in, even if he speaks Klingon.” 

Author: Vigor Klaić