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The beautiful game comes to Lyall Bay beach

18 February 2008

The beautiful game comes to Lyall Bay beach

If you fancy yourself as the next Ronaldo, Henry, or Leo Bertos, head down to Lyall Bay this weekend as football fever begins with Wellington’s first Beach Soccer Festival.

Pioneered by professional football coach, Dragan Serdar, the festival still has a few places left for five-a-side teams. Half-hour games will take place all day Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 February at Lyall Bay beach.

Dragan says beach football originated where the game is played with the most passionate fervour – South America. Now as popular as the standard game of football on grass pitches, beach football is being taken up by players of the beautiful game all over the world.

“It is quite different to standard football,” Dragan says. “The ball is lighter, and players play barefoot in the sand. The ball makes elaborate tricks easier to accomplish, making a good show for spectators.”

Dragan plans to establish Wellington’s own beach football team from the tournament, and will be scouting for talent throughout the weekend.

The Council’s Push Play Team Leader, Craig Ireson, says this weekend kicks off Wellington’s festival of football, which culminates with Culture Kicks, a mini world cup, at the end of March.

“These events take place just before the actual football season begins here in Wellington,” he says. “So for football enthusiasts who might have had one too many ice-creams over the hot summer, it may be your chance to get some training in before your league playing starts.”

If people are interested in giving beach football a go before the weekend, an open day takes place tomorrow evening at Oriental Bay from 5.30pm until 7.30pm. To enrol a team for the festival at the weekend, contact Dragan on 381 2276, mobile 027 588 9974 or email draganserdar[at]


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