Somali refugees steam roll Poland to take out football final

The Somali football team pump up the adrenalin before their game against Ireland at the NZ Communities Football Cup held ...
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

The Somali football team pump up the adrenalin before their game against Ireland at the NZ Communities Football Cup held at Wakefield Park.

It wasn't about who won and who lost but, yeah, actually, it kind of was.

And that winner of the 2015 New Zealand Communities Football Cup was Somalia Wellington.

The competition saw top community teams from around the country converge at Island Bay's Wakefield Park over the weekend.

The tournament was established by police in 2008, to encourage positive community interaction and bring people together for some fun, Inspector Rakesh Naidoo said.

The final was the culmination of 1000 games of local football played over the past year and the teams were ready for action.

After a "very competitive game played in the best of spirits" the Somalian team – largely made up of refugees – steam-rolled a Polish team from Christchurch 4-nil in the Sunday afternoon final.

It was the Somalians' second-straight year of winning the tournament and their enthusiasm and energy going into the games was obvious.

Tournament coordinator Tayo Agunlejika said the fact the Somalian team actually contained three Brits was typical of the kind of inclusion the competition aimed to promote.

Former All White captain and current Wellington police officer Rodger Gray said the passion the players brought to the game had inspired him.

"We've brought players down from Auckland and up from Christchurch, from Palmerston North and Whanganui to try to get a competitive team.

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"But the standard is very, very high ... It's not international, but these guys would be competitive in the top local leagues.

"The beauty of it is, because of the range of ethnic backgrounds, they bring a range of styles."

Gray said it was an excellent initiative for the police.

"It's good for these guys to see us when we're not behind a blue shirt."

He joked: "That's why we're deliberately losing."

There had been a great friendly atmosphere at least off the field, he said.

"But once the whistle goes, it's two competitive teams, which is good. But it's been played in good spirit."

 - Stuff

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