Multi-Ethnic Football Festival

Rangatahi in Ōtautahi have the opportunity to connect and celebrate diversity through a sporting opportunity set to bring together young people from all over the city.

On Sunday 15 August, 9-13-year-olds from Christchurch’s multi-ethnic communities will come together to play football, have fun with their peers and be a part of something truly special as part of the first ever Multi-Ethnic Football Festival at English Park.

The event is the brainchild of Hussain Hanif, the new Diversity and Inclusion Manager for Mainland Football and Canterbury Cricket as he and his team kick off their new Ethnic Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy.

“This event will open the strategy projects leading into ethnic football and cricket hubs around this great city. 

“This festival is a celebration of diversity and building friendships through football by bringing together youth and supporters from around the local region to help build relationships and understanding between their communities hosted by Mainland Football and Canterbury Cricket,” he adds. 

Sport New Zealand’s Balance is Better philosophy is also embedded within this event, by providing quality experiences for all young people focused on fun rather than winning. Sport Canterbury’s Let’s Keep it Positive side-line behaviour message will also be present on the day.

The festival will begin at 10am with a Karakia to welcome all players, supporters and spectators with Huss and his team extending the invite to the Ōtautahi community to come along and watch some fantastic football.

Those teams registered to play are thrilled about the opportunity and have been hosting training sessions in preparation for Sunday’s event.

One such group is the Pinoy community, who held a football skills training session for youth participants on Saturday at the Graham Condon Centre with over 40 young people in attendance.

They were motivated to put teams in for the festival because of the skills they have seen within the young people in their community as well as the overall experience of being part of a multi-ethnic sports festival.

“Our Filipino community group feels highly privileged to be part of this event and to participate in this sports diversity programme. We have so much talent and skills in our youth and to be able to take part in this programme will give the Filipino youth the opportunity not only to further hone their talents/skills but also to experience the camaraderie and encouragement that comes from being part of this multi-ethnic sports festival. 

“We are also motivated to involve the Filipino youth in different sport activities apart from the activities we do in our community. This will allow our youth to grow and be pro-active members of the wider and diverse community,” says Agnes Guda, Director at Pinoy CARES Canterbury.

For many of the Pinoy participants, this will be the first time they have been part of a sports festival.

“This is the first time our community group has ever participated/competed in a sport event of this kind. Although our youth play individually in different sports, this is the first time we are entering and competing in a multi-ethnic youth sports festival in Christchurch.

“We are all excited to participate, especially because most of the kids have not played competitive football involving different ethnicities. We thank Hussain Hanif for tapping us on the shoulder and inviting us to participate even though most of our kids have no formal training in this sport,” says Blade Lazo, Chairman at Pinoy CARES Canterbury and Trustee of the Christchurch Ballers Club.

There are many things the participants are looking forward to about playing in this weekend’s festival, but having fun is big on the agenda.

“I've been playing soccer since I was five and I've always loved it. I'm excited to share the field with my brother, Jihan, who also loves soccer. I'm looking forward to meeting new kids to have fun with me. I'm pretty sure it's going to be an awesome day,” says Filipino participant - Jakan Marc Tanhueco.

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Article added: Wednesday 11 August 2021