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Afghanistan soccer suspense in West Auckland’s Ethkick

Twice before, the Afghanistan Men’s team smashed the competition to win the final at Ethkick West (7 a-side) football tournament. Can these reigning champions do it again this year? We’ll find out on March 16th at the Waitakere Football Club, Fred Taylor Par, in Whenuapai.

The competition will be tough this year, with the highest number of teams so far: at least 26 men’s and 6 women’s teams. Ethkick West, however, is not only a fiercely competed sporting event – much more importantly, it also is a football family fiesta that aims to celebrate West Auckland’s rich ethnic and cultural diversity.

For example, the captain of the Afghanistan team, Hadi Basiri, and his brothers have lived in West Auckland for 15 years. Before that, they lived at the resettlement camp at Mangere for 6 weeks: like other team members, they are former refugees. Other communities that have registered a team include: Gurkha, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Nepal, China, South Africa, Sri Lanka. Fiji, Tuvalu, Zo, Cambodian, Congo and Malaysia.

These, and other ethnic West Auckland communities will be able to share a common passion. The wonderful thing about football is that almost everyone speaks this language, it does not matter where you come from. Large and small communities have equal chance to win the Ethkick Cup. Everyone is encouraged to come in support of their teams, and it would be great if they bring their enthusiasm and their music and songs to do so.

Ethkick West is being played on Saturday March 16 at Fred Taylor Park (Massey), starting at 8.00am. There will be short opening ceremony including the Hon Phil Twyford as a speaker. There will of course be a medals ceremony at the end of the day. This is a free, family friendly event. There will be games, a diversity of food, some musical entertainment, and a great buzz.

Ethkick West is organised by Community Waitakere, partnered and/or supported by: the Northern Football Federation, Waitakere City Football Club, Auckland Council, NZ Police, the Waitakere Ethnic Board, Sports Waitakere, the Human Rights Commission, West Auckland Local Boards, The Trusts Community Foundation and The Trusts. It will be an alcohol free and smoke free event.

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