The ninth staging of the New Zealand Communities Football Cup (NZCFC) was a huge success last weekend in Auckland.
Nearly 400 footballers representing communities from all over the world competed in the finals of the NZCFC, with all first place winners hailing from Auckland.
New Zealand Football Chief Executive Andy Martin, who attended day one of the NZCFC in Mangere, said the tournament proved again to be a special week on the football calendar.
“It was great to be able to experience this tournament which brings people from all walks of life together through their love of football,” said Martin. “Football is a truly global game so the NZ Communities Football Cup plays an important role in bringing the many diverse cultures who call New Zealand home together for a weekend that is full of camaraderie and competition. This is what sport at a grassroots level is all about.”
The NZCFC has been well supported by the regional councils over the past nine years and has attracted new supporters and sponsors to secure a positive future for the event going forward.
Tayo Agunlejika, the Tournament Director and Executive Director of Multicultural New Zealand, said the ninth year of the Communities Football Cup was another fantastic display of using sport as a tool to help break down cultural barriers.
“The Communities Football Cup is all about celebrating cultural diversity in New Zealand, and bringing together teams from different cultures in the spirit of the game,” he said. “It was a great two day out for spectators, particularly children, many of whom took part in free football skills clinics over the weekend.”
Agunlejika said it was great to see the first ever youth tournament take place this year, with 10 under 13 teams joining the 10 women’s and 16 men’s teams at this year’s Communities Football Cup.
“We are so lucky to have the support of so many incredible organisations who help make this event happen.” he said. “A huge thank you to all of our sponsors and supporters – New Zealand Police, New Zealand Football, Human Rights Commission, ANZ, Lion Foundation, New Zealand Community Trust and Four Winds Trust.”
Wally Haumaha, the New Zealand Police Assistant Commissioner, said it was an easy decision for the New Zealand Police to continue supporting this event.
“This is the ninth year we’ve been involved with the Communities Football Cup, and over that time, this tournament has allowed our staff to interact with thousands of people from all walks of life,” said Haumaha.
“The two themes that emerge from this tournament, are ‘Do you care enough to be a cop’, and ‘It’s not ok’. Police encourage all of the players in the tournament to take the White Ribbon Pledge – a pledge which the players recite ahead of the competition to take a stand against domestic violence. On a lighter note it gives the Police a chance to show their great skills on the field, we just can’t seem to make it to the number one spot.”
The NZCFC, which was developed by the New Zealand Police in 2008, uses people’s passion for football to connect diverse communities, celebrate success and encourage positive social change. It is supported and endorsed by key regional and government agencies.
The NZCFC is a culmination of over 1,000 regional football matches. This year’s diverse line-up includes teams representing Fiji, Argentina, Somalia, Colombia, Poland, Myanmar and the Solomon Islands.
For the record, RYAN (Refugee Youth Action Network from Auckland) defended their title in the men’s competition defeating NZ Afar in the Championship Final.
Ruru Women’s (Auckland) beat Kotuku to claim the women’s title, while the South Auckland Youth defeated the New Zealand Police in the Youth Final.
New Zealand Football had a significant presence at the tournament throughout the weekend. Community Development Manager Jamie Milne was on hand to select the Multicultural All Stars (MASs) selection – a team which has been made possible after the signing of an agreement between Australian First Nations People’s council and the Tasman Pacific Wairua Miriral Exchange locking NZ Maori and Australian First Nations people’s together under a football umbrella.
The New Zealand Football Injury Prevention Team, who work on the guiding principle of enhancing performance through prevention, were there both days to deliver the Fit4Football programme. This is the overall enhancing performance and injury prevention programme of which the 11+ warm ups are one component of this programme. NZF EXCO Member Michael Anderson was there on Sunday to present the trophies to the champions.
After the successful staging of the NZCFC in 2017, the stage is set for the 10th championship next year to go to another level and further the great work this tournament has achieved.
NZ Community Football Cup Winners;
1. RYAN (Refugee Youth Action Network from Auckland)
2. NZ Afar (Djibouti from Hamilton)
3. Ethio Lions (Waitakere)
1. Ruru Women’s (Auckland)
2. Kotuku Women’s (Auckland)
1. South Auckland Youth (Auckland)
2. New Zealand Police (Tauranga)
3. Central Spirit (Auckland)
For more on the NZ Community Football Cup click here.