Futsal: Family pride for Dundee futsal stars at 2019 Home Nations

Ahmed Aloulou in action for Scotland at the 2017 Home Nations.

There was plenty of family pride – if not the desired results – as brothers Ahmed and Youssef Aloulou took to the court in a Scotland shirt together.

Both have been firm fixtures in the Dundee futsal scene for many years now but last weekend saw them turn out for the national side together for the first time.

They were joined by Dundee Futsal Club team-mate Darren Clarkson who described the tournament as “one of the best experiences of my life”.

Scotland’s futsal squad headed to St George’s Park, headquarters of the English Football Association, for the 2019 Home Nations, along with Wales and Northern Ireland.

However, they didn’t get the results they were after under coach Scott Chaplain as they started the competition with a 5-1 defeat to England.

That was followed by a hard-fought 3-3 draw against Wales and then a 5-3 defeat to Northern Ireland.

The Scotland squad for the 2019 Home Nations with Ahmed (No 15) and Youssef Aloulou (No 17) and Darren Clarkson (No 12).

Ahmed, who played football for Alloa Athletic in the Championship last season, told the Evening Telegraph: “Overall it was frustrating. We didn’t get the results we were after.

“I think we could see progress made under Chappy but it just didn’t translate into results.

“The most disappointing thing was we led against both Wales (2-1 up) and Northern Ireland (3-1 up) but failed to win.

“I think that’s what hurt most of all, to be honest.

“England are always tough and that first game set the tone.

“They have crazy strength in depth and we can’t get near that. However, we did think we moved the ball well and did some things well.

“Overall, though, it was disappointing but the good thing is there are Euro qualifiers in January in Belgium so we can use this to fuel us.

“It’s good to get a chance so quickly and I hope I am involved.”

Ahmed will be hoping both he and Youssef get the call to face the Belgians, Montenegro and Albania after playing together in England.

Ahmed added: “That was a really proud moment for all our family.

“Our family was in the stands to watch and it was a great moment.

“Obviously we have played together at club level with Stars Ltd and Dundee Futsal Club but to do it at an international tournament was incredible.

“We had a few good moves together, I maybe tried to set him up when I should have shot myself a couple of times but Youssef did really well.”

The squad had a real Tayside edge to it with 13 of the 16 members
playing for Dundee or Perth sides.

Dundee goalkeeper Clarkson was given a taste of international
competition in the final match against Northern Ireland and is determined for more.

He said: “It was one of the best experiences of my life. It was outrageous.

“Every single moment being there, even sitting on the bench was an
honour. I was proud to be there.

“From the minute we arrived, everyone was in great spirits.

“The England game deflated us a bit but we picked it up against a really good Wales side.

“On paper, we should probably beat Northern Ireland but they did their job and played really well. They celebrated every pass, every save, every block which maybe we should do that kind of thing.”

He added: “The whole event was amazing, it felt professional and the whole setup was, too.

“The Nike Arena was beautiful and St George’s Park is the best facility I’ve ever seen.

“Hopefully, I can keep progressing as a player – I want to keep improving as well as helping my club along too.

“I live and breathe Dundee Futsal Club so that myself, Ahmed and Youssef got selected is huge for us and the sport in the city.

“It shows boys what can be achieved – I only started playing three or four years ago and, if you do things right, you can make it to international level.”