Six-a-side Astro Football

Words & Photos: Lee Carter



Six-a-side football, or indoor football, is one of the fastest growing forms of football in the world, and that includes South Africa. It’s a fast, dynamic game played on smaller-size football fields, usually with astro turf and nets to stop the ball from going out, thus allowing a continuous flow of this beautiful game.



In 6-a-side astro football, a heavier Futsal ball is used because it allows for a more touch-friendly and accurate game of football, with the players very much in control of the game. It's almost a replica of the 11-a-side games, just on a smaller pitch and with fewer players, and this is what makes it such an exciting sport to play and watch.


Come play

While 6-a-side is perfect for those who just want to have a run around with mates or have fun with company employees, it's also great for people looking for something more competitive. One such complex that offers games for adults, kids, ladies, and mixed, as well as socials and companies, is Modder Sports Complex, in Gauteng. There are also adult six-a-side football leagues, as well as leagues for the youngsters that run all year round and cater for all standards and abilities. Played on two brand new fields, the staff and referees have many years of experience in the control of six-a-side football leagues and tournaments. Modder Sports Complex also adheres to a high standard of refereeing and does not tolerate violence or over-aggressive teams or players, which means that everyone can relax and just enjoy their game, without any injuries or harm to dignity. At the end of each season prizes are presented and the new season begins with either relegation for the bottom two teams or promotion for the top two sides, if applicable.



Game format

Whilst most indoor football venues vary the application of how they play the game in South Africa, Modder Sports Complex strives to keep the game in line with the format played in the UK and Europe, with the ultimate objective of choosing an elite side to 'informally' represent South Africa at one of their tournaments.


Most venues play five-a-side and the game is played where you are allowed to use the nets while in play. I firmly believe this takes away the true reason of playing football and therefore our rules differ slightly. For example, if the ball hits my nets, then the ball is deemed out, just like in 11-a-side football, and you then have to take a kick in. This not only helps your game to be accurate, in terms of passing, but also allows for a more free-flowing, easy-on-the-eye brand of football.


Although there are a few brands of indoor football in South Africa, most players are easily adaptable when it comes to changing venues or the way the game is played. What I have done is taken the best out of all formats of the smaller version game and created a beautiful playing experience with six-a-side astro football.


How it's played

In 6-a-side, there are six players in each team on the field, of which one must be the goalkeeper. Each game lasts a total of 40 minutes, divided into two halves of 20 minutes, with a minute half-time break. There are a host of rules, so I'll just mention a few of the main ones. There are no time additions for injury or additional time, and the clock doesn't stop when the ball is out of play. Standard 11-a-side rules apply, but there is no offside. Slide tackles or two-on-one tackle situations are not allowed, thereby reducing the risk of any injuries.


Looking forward
Since indoor football is not an officially recognised sport under the South African Football Association, I hope to create a playing experience where youngsters and adults can play football as close and in-line as possible with the general rules of 11-a-side football and hopefully one day our sport of indoor football will be recognised as an international form of football, where we can nurture and create talent to play competitively overseas and have top-class leagues throughout the country.


So if you want to have a casual game every now and then or fancy the challenge of a league ranging from skilful to not so skilful, then six-a-side astro football could be for you.


For more information on the Modder Sports Complex, the sport, registering a side or sourcing a comprehensive list of rules, visit, or email . You can also follow them on Twitter @moddersp and Facebook