Communities flock to fun-filled football
A football competition with teams dubbed Unreal Madrid, Just Out of Towners, Sunny Zimbabwe and Ethiopian Mafia was always going to be good entertainment.
But for the 36 sides competing in the sixth annual Ethkick competition at Arena Manawatu in Palmerston North on Saturday, every match was played with heart and soul.
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Ethkick organiser Jason Flynn said about 400 adults took part and about 40 children tried the new junior component.
"The weather was fantastic. The feedback afterwards was that it had been by far the most even competition and played in the best spirits of the six tournaments that we've held," he said.
"From a discipline point of view there was only one red card in the entire tournament and that was in the last game but that's one of those things that happens.
"When you're playing so many games it's fantastic that everyone held their discipline, and the refs did a fantastic job too."
The cup final was won by Feilding team Just Out of Towners over a mixed ethnicity side from Palmerston North, The Click.
The runner-up plate final was won by Fiji Blues over Ethiopian Mafia; the third place bowl final was won by MMA over Sunny Zimbabwe.
Mr Flynn said it was a good final game won 2-0 by Just Out of Towners, and the first time a mixed team had made the final in the top competition.
The Myanmar community won the award for best support while Diversity won the fair play award.
Mr Flynn said there were very few injuries from the tournament.
Sunny Zimbabwe team member Lee Ndlovu said his team hadn't performed as well this year compared with previous years, but the tournament had been enjoyable for them.
"It's been good competition as usual. We didn't get where we wanted but we played well," he said. "The best part was taking part and seeing how the other teams have improved."
Myanmar Youth team member Taw Reh Nga said his Porirua team had played very well to make the semifinal for the first time.
"We drove up for this at 5am and we were the first team here, we didn't want to be late," he said. "We also have an ethnic tournament in Wellington which we participate in but we wanted to try something new.
"It's all about meeting other people, entering a new tournament and playing teams we haven't met before."
MMA Black Packs team member Zen Naiz said his team had taken a bit of a battering in the games, but played their best despite injuries.
"It was a pretty good day - we started with a 2-0 win, we lost our second game and drew our third and fourth," he said. "We came for fun because we are friends and it was good to get together."
Sport Manawatu community sport adviser Andy Kruy said about 40 children turned up for the new youth component of the tournament, organised by Sport Manawatu.
Mr Kruy said the children, aged 5 to 13, were taught drills and skills by the YoungHeart Manawatu under-19 team before playing games.
"We were really pleased with the day - there was quite a diverse turnout, with kids from different countries and they seemed to enjoy themselves. It's something that will continue next year."