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Culture Kicks showcases Wellington’s football diversity

Martin Packer holds aloft the SportZone Champions Trophy, backed by Team of Roy's_Credit Michael Welsh

Team of Roy’s has won the right to represent Wellington at this year’s New Zealand Communities Football Cup after winning the annual ‘Culture Kicks’ tournament at Newtown’s Te Whaea sportsfields yesterday.

Over 220 players and 24 teams contested the 2018 tournament. Team of Roys were victorious after a 1-0 win in the final against a North Wellington team who are current champions in Wellington’s summer Sunday Football League, holding three tournament titles.

First played in 2006, Culture Kicks is a five-a-side football tournament that celebrates football’s ability to bring people of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds together for the love of the beautiful game. It is supported by Wellington City Council, and teams representing cultures as diverse as Eritrea, Indonesia and Somalia entered this year’s competition, with Team of Roy’s having English football heritage on their side.

New migrants and refugees are encouraged to take part, and tournament organiser Tony Morrison said the tournament was an important avenue for different cultures and communities to find common ground through football.

“Culture Kicks has got a real festival atmosphere. We love to see the passion people bring to the game and the different styles of football that come out on the day.”

The final’s only goal was scored by Team of Roy’s player and Tournament MVP Martin Packer. He said the experience had been ‘unbelievably good’.

“We went in with no subs, so the legs are pretty sore right now,” said Packer. Originally from Leeds in England, but now a Hataitai resident, Packer said the team’s strategic approach had centred around ball possession and the team was ecstatic to achieve victory.

The victory was all the more unlikely due to an early loss and a draw which saw Team of Roy’s make the quarter finals on goal difference alone. After seeing off Chipolo All-Stars in the quarter final, they beat multinational Olympic FC 2-1, who had a bright young star in the form of 17-year-old Quinton Kipara (also known as ‘Forbes’), originally from Zimbabwe but now living in Upper Hutt.

Kipara had earlier shown his accurate shooting by winning a $260 prize in the Gruvie Girl Friday X-bar Challenge, but even his pace wasn’t enough to overcome Team of Roy’s strategic approach and solid defence. Team of Roy’s took home $3,000 and the coveted SportZone Champions Trophy for their winning effort.

Mr Morrison thanked Wellington City Council, Gruvie Girl Friday, the Occasional Brewer and BurgerFuel for their generous sponsorship of the tournament

He said he was looking forward to the New Zealand Communities Football Cup in Auckland, which would be contested by the winners of a series of other regional community football tournaments from around New Zealand.

Developed by the New Zealand Police in 2008, the New Zealand Communities Football Cup connects diverse communities, celebrates success and encourages positive social change.

Wellington’s Somali team won the Cup in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015, while current back-to-back champions are Auckland’s Refugee Youth Action Network (RYAN).


Categories: NZ Kelly Cup


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