Tuesday 14 September 2021, 07:00

Chishkala: We’re saving the big celebrations for later

  • RFU beat Egypt 9-0 in their opening match in Group B

Ivan Chishkala scored a hat-trick and made a point of celebrating it

  • On the losing side in the 2016 final, he hopes to go one better in 2021

“I’m quite simply not an emotional person. I can’t say that I felt anything special. I took it for what it was – just another goal.” When Ivan Chishkala spoke to FIFA.com after scoring his first FIFA Futsal World Cup™ goal at Colombia 2016, in a 7-1 defeat of Cuba, he was keen not to get too carried away about it.

Fast forward five years, however, and the RFU forward is visibly more excited to get his name on the scoresheet in a world finals. Chishkala helped himself to a hat-trick in his side’s comfortable 9-0 defeat of Egypt at the Vilnius Arena on Sunday and celebrated his goals with fist clenched, arm outstretched, and blowing kisses into the air.

And when FIFA.com caught up with him afterwards, he was all mischievous smiles as he compared his reactions to scoring at Colombia 2016 and Lithuania 2021: “Yes, I enjoyed it. I celebrated them a bit more this time, though still not as a much as my team-mates. And we haven’t shown everything yet. We’re saving the big celebrations for later, when we hope to have something more than goals to celebrate.”

One step beyond

Chishkala and his team-mates came very close to obtaining that “something” five years ago in Colombia, where they lost 5-4 to Argentina in the final, which perhaps explained their determination to impress against the Pharaohs. “We’ve got very high expectations,” said Chishkala, who plays for SL Benfica Futsal in Portugal. “We’ve got one of the best teams in the world and we always want to win.

“Memories of the final are still there. It was a tough moment,” he recalled. “But we’ve come back with the same goal: to go just as far and to win this time. We showed that with our performance in this match.”

Despite their superiority and the emphatic scoreline against the Egyptians, RFU kept the pressure on until the final whistle, putting everything they had into every attack and defending as if their lives depended on it whenever their opponents went on the offensive.

“That’s our mindset of never giving up and never letting up,” added Chishkala, who now has his sights set on RFU’s next match, against Uzbekistan. “That’s why we never stopped attacking and why we stayed focused to the end so that we wouldn’t concede. We’re here for one thing and one thing only: to win the tournament. It’s important to show all our opponents that we’ll be fighting all the way, for every ball.”

RFU's Chishkala shoots

Old head on young shoulders

That determination was not enough in itself against Argentina in Colombia, where Chishkala, then aged 21, was the second-youngest player in his side and the 12th-youngest in the tournament.

“I was very young and I was new to the demands of the very highest level, like the World Cup.” Now a key player in the Sbornaja line-up, he added: “I’m five years older now, but if you look at our team, I’m still one of the youngest (laughs). I’m more confident because I have that experience and more responsibilities. I still see myself as a young player, though. I try to bring as much as I can to the team, and I know I can still learn more from my more experienced team-mates.”

Come the end of the tournament, Chishkala may well be learning some expansive new celebration routines from them.