Fifa World Cup fever spurs football nut to action

Football tournament for World Cup wonder

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 02/04/2014
Stuart Cushing
RAYMOND BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ

TIME TO KICK THINGS OFF: Stuart Cushing is organising a football tournament for Timaru to play during the Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

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The football World Cup will be played more than 12,000km away from Timaru, but that hasn't stopped one expat Englishman from capitalising on cup fever.

Stuart Cushing is arranging a four-team tournament to be played over the four Sundays during the Brazil-hosted event.

Cushing is hoping to get football fans from around the world to join one of the sides, made up from the United Kingdom, Europe, New Zealand and the Rest of the World.

''It should be great fun and afterwards we can get together and watch a couple of games.''

Cushing envisages each team having a couple of practices before playing.

''We have put posters up at the (football) clubs, but are happy to have anyone sign up as four weekends might suit some people.''

Cushing is a self-confessed football tragic and in 2009 the die-hard Tottenham Hotspur fan set up the official New Zealand Spurs fan club for the north London football giants.

The coming tournament is running under the Tottenham umbrella and will use the Speights Ale House as their clubrooms.

Cushing has also imported a a replica of the World Cup trophy from the United Kingdom.

''It is the same size and weight as the real one.''

Registrations open on Wednesday night at the Alehouse and Cushing said teams will be filled on a first-come basis, with squads of 18 players.

For the real event, Cushing believes hosts Brazil will be the champions.

As for England, sadly he doesn't hold too much hope.

''The underdogs sometimes, but as long as they have a real go I'll be happy.''

Cushing has been to World Cup qualifiers in England and Europe, but not the event itself, however, it remains on his bucket list.

With the growth of interest in football in New Zealand among the kids, Cushing also intends to have his replica available during the tournament for anyone keen to have a fun photo with it.

There are 71 days to go until kick-off in the tournament opener when Brazil take on Croatia in San Paulo.

Anyone interested in playing locally can contact Stuart on 027 721 5243.

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- The Timaru Herald

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