The Mini Football U21 World Cup wrapped up in Prague earlier this month with ten students from UCFB Etihad Campus representing Great Britain at the tournament.

Taking place from 4-8 October in the capital of the Czech Republic the host nation claimed the trophy with a 2-1 win in the final over Slovakia.

A spirited effort saw GB reach the quarter-finals where they were knocked-out by Senegal with Henry Limpitshi-Bongwanga – Football Business & Finance student at UCFB – scoring for GB in a 4-1 defeat and finishing as the top scorer at the tournament with 12 goals.

GB lined up against India in their first group game registering an impressive 14-0 win with Limpitshi-Bongwanga leading the way with six goals.

The side then faced Guatemala in their final group fixture, coming out on top as 6-1 winner with Limpitshi again amongst the goals and helping GB qualify from the group and progress to the knockout stage.

The biennial Mini Football World Cup focuses predominantly on player development, team building and fair play, with a view to enhancing international relations and contributing to the positive development of society.

Reflecting on the tournament after returning to the UK, GB Mini Football U21 manager Ryan Charalambous said: “It was fantastic event. Speaking on behalf of the GB U21s team, we had an experience of a lifetime together representing England and UCFB.

“The event was very well organised from start to finish. The sport itself is tactically and technically very demanding and exciting. For any football lover it’s great to watch as it’s end to end, fast paced and full of goals! Mini football is growing and with a little more exposure I’m confident it can become very popular worldwide.”

Mini football is promoted and moderated by the World Minifootball Federation (WMF), a non-profit organisation, which seeks to promote, supervise and direct minifootball globally as a means to contribute to the positive development of society.

The Czech Republic are also reigning European and World Champions in the senior division, after triumphing over the United States in the recent 2017 senior World Cup.

The U21 tournament is aimed at developing the sport and using mini football as a tool to reduce the issues associated with social policy and promote the city, to ultimately maximise tourism.

The ten UCFB Etihad Campus students played a significant role in helping the WMF achieve their objectives, and were a credit to themselves representing UCFB on the international stage.

Mark Staines, President of GB Minifootball Union – a not for profit organisation, set up to develop Minifootball throughout the UK – said: “It was our first time competing at any international U21 event, so it was great to work with UCFB and for them to send a team to represent England and Great Britain at the WMF U21 World Cup.

“The lads were great to deal with throughout, everything about their attitude and behaviour was impeccable. They were very well received by the other countries and the world governing body, the WMF.

“We couldn’t be any prouder of the lads, their first time playing 6-a-side Football at international level, and they reached the quarter finals of the World Cup, an amazing achievement.

“The whole experience hopefully brought more recognition to UCFB from around the world, and also it’s brought attention on GB Minifootball Union, and for that we are grateful. It will benefit us greatly going forward that we sent a team to the U21 World Cup, so a massive thanks to UCFB.”