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ChangeMakers Football Cup 2024

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Finalists Kaw Thoo Lei (to the left of the immage), referees, Jirra (to the right of the image), and some organisers

On Saturday 14th January, 2024 a collaborated effort by ChangeMakers, Capital Football, Wellington Phoenix, and New Zealand Police brought the inaugural ChangeMakers Football Tournament to our communities.

We were delighted by the response we had to this, with 6 full teams registering, representing a range of communities:  Kaw Thoo Lei (Karen plus friends); Nigerian Community FC; Jirra (Ethiopia plus friends); Afghan Community; Homs FC (Syrian); and Team 1 (a group of individuals that wanted to join a team for the day).

There was a lot of joy and laughter, comradery, and excellent sportsmanship throughout the day.  While not playing, teams and supporters were entertained by our friend DJ Dozen (Tendekai), and we had fun commentary and “ooh là là” from Devin between his games for Kaw Thoo Lei.  

In the kids corner, we had Football for All and Athletics Wellington providing some fun activities and getting our younger whanau interested in these activities.  Entertaining kids over such a long day is not easy, but everyone seemed to be having fun, and some of the kids moved on to karaoke and commentary after their activities were over.  We even had a couple of the mums singing and dancing on the sidelines.

Twelve games total were played, starting at 9 am and going through into overtime past 4.30 pm with a penalty kick-off between Jirra and Kaw Thoo Lei.  Everyone was in a state of nervous anticipation and supporters on the sidelines were letting their vocal cords loose as they loudly cheered on their teams.  A huge congratulations to Jirra, who managed to pull off the win, taking home the ChangeMakers Football Trophy 2024.  And congratulations to Kaw Thoo Lei for coming in very close runners-up.  Player of the tournament went to Ashnarvy Mustapha, and Best Sportsmanship went to Mar Chae Michael…so a huge congratulations to both of you.

ChangeMakers would like to shout out our huge appreciation to Capital Football – particularly Jess, Wellington Pheonix, New Zealand Police, the professional referees who volunteered their time, and to Athletics Wellington, the two food vendors of Colombian and Afghani food, health promotors Bee Healthy and Kokiri Marae Hauora Services.  Without your support, this event couldn’t have happened nor been as fluid yet well organised.  Thanks to our DJ, Tendekai, for allowing others to practice their DJ skills, do a little Karaoke and some commentary.  We also want to thank communities for participating and supporters for attending…and look forward to seeing you again next year.

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