Oceania Football Confederation > News > OFC > Cup continues OFC’s sport for development role

Cup continues OFC’s sport for development role

This was the first time it had been hosted in New Zealand’s largest city and OFC joined forces with a number of other organisations – namely NZ Police, New Zealand Football, Auckland Football Federation, Cuesports, Auckland Council, NZ Diversity Action and Connect2sport – to stage the tournament at the Roskill Youth Zone in Mt Roskill.
The NZCFC is a social event gathering teams representing different ethnicities from around the country. Although regional football events have been held by local councils and ethnic organisations for some years, the NZCFC offers the opportunity for regional winners’ community-based teams to compete against one another at a national level.
The tournament is the culmination of more than 1000 games of regional football.
But the main focus of the Communities Cup is on social development and every year the participants have the opportunity to share and interact with each other to help facilitate their inclusion into New Zealand society.
“The tournament is an opportunity to bring a range of cultures together,” says Superintendent Wallace Haumaha, general manager of Maori Pacific and Ethnic Services for NZ Police.
“The message we have tried to get across through the tournament has been about how social change can be driven, looking at sport as a universal language that helps to integrate cultures. Everybody enjoys themselves in sport, it’s about participation and team work – those are the attributes we look at,” Haumaha says.
“I think football represents these values best as it reaches every culture in the world.”
This year’s event brought together 12 teams of various ethnicities – such as Polish, Somalian, Brazilian, Italian, Irish, Fijian and Ethiopian – living in New Zealand and it was the Somalia Wellington team that emerged triumphant, defeating Fiji Club United from Hamilton 5-0 in the final. They became the first team to lift the trophy twice, having also become inaugural champions in 2008.
“It is great that the tournament gathers all the different communities living in New Zealand as it is interesting to share with others,” says Najib Sofe, a player with the winning Somalian team.
“To see different communities gathered together for a weekend is a good thing,” agrees Leonardo Pardini, a Brazilian now living in Tauranga. “As a Brazilian, I think using football is great. It is a worldwide sport, easy to play and everybody can have fun.”
OFC’s involvement with the tournament began in 2008 when representatives from NZ Police met with OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas to talk about an event that would use football as a social development tool. As the tournament is in line with the confederation’s social responsibility programme, OFC decided to support it and have been involved with each of the four editions.
The success of the event and increased interest has led to NZ Police wanting to develop the concept and work with other communities around the Pacific region to stage further tournaments. It is hoped that similar projects will soon be organised in Cook Islands and Vanuatu.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) describes sport and physical education as a “fundamental right for all” and in 2003 the general assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution which recognised sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace.
OFC is very much involved in sport for development throughout the Pacific region in partnership with the Australian Government – through its agencies the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) – and has used that support to run the Just Play programme, a unique initiative that promotes physical activity for primary-aged children while encouraging education, community involvement, gender equity and healthy living.
OFC also organises the Pacific Youth and Sport Conference, an event that brings together young people from across the Pacific to meet, interact and discuss important issues.

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