“We gained a lot in that tournament and it helped our players to build their confidence.”
Barcelona prepared for next month’s Intercontinental Cup competition with the International Trophy of Football 7-a-Side five-team tournament last weekend (7-9 June).
The Netherlands, who sent over a development squad, traveled to the capital of Catalonia and came away with an undefeated record that included a resounding 8-0 victory over a Finnish team in the first game of the tournament that failed to register a point over the course of the weekend.
South Africa and Venezuela also competed over the weekend with the two teams experiencing differing fortunes.
South Africa finished second (3-1) and Venezuela finished in last place (0-4) after losing all four of their games.
South Africa head coach Lucky Tsatsane believes the tournament was hugely beneficial to his players.
Winning three of the four games, including beating the hosts 11-3 in the final game, meant they finished second to the Netherlands.
“We gained a lot in that tournament and it helped our players to build their confidence.” Tsatsane said. “We performed very well in all our games. Our standard of play was improving day-by-day. We really learned a lot from other countries as well.
“Most of my players excelled in this tournament particularly my number one goalkeeper by the name of Thabiso Galeboe who made wonderful saves. My other two players scored six and seven goals, respectively.”
A young Catalonia team went 1-3 in their four games, as five players within their squad got some much-needed game time before they join up with the Spainish squad ahead of the Intercontinental Cup, which will run from 24 July-11 August.
The Catalonia manager Ivan Estany Ortega says it was a good practice for his players and a good warm-up for what is to come for five of his players at the Intercontinental Cup.
Ortega said: “There was a high level in all the matches. Holland was the stronger of all the teams and for Catalonia there are five players, that in the Intercontinental Cup that will play with Spain, and I think that the players could see the level they need to achieve next month.
“South Africa was a surprise for of the tournament for me, and Venezuela did not have all their players unfortunately. Catalonia didn't play very well over the weekend but for me a one positive thing was the level of the young players performances.”
Although Finland finished tied for last place with Venezuela, Finnish head coach Samuel Siikonen was happy with how his team performed, but also admits he and his side had a rude awakening against the Netherlands when they lost 8-0.
“Although we finished last in the tournament, I'm happy for our overall performance in games.” Siikonen said.
“First game against Netherlands was a disaster and we lost 8-0. I'm beginning to think it was a rude awakening that we needed. We don't play many games in a year that are as challenging as the games in Barcelona were. After this game we all knew that we would have to give 110 per cent if we were going to excel in the competition.”