Honouring the “17th team”

Volunteers are recognised for their contribution to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. Image: FIFA via Getty Images

They are the unsung heroes whose work is vital in ensuring that any tournament unfolds without a hitch

In recognition of their tireless efforts in a wide variety of roles, almost 1,000 volunteers at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016 enjoyed their own moment in the spotlight at Monday evening’s Volunteers Celebration.

“I want to thank all of you for your remarkable work,” said PNG Football Association president David Chung in an emotional speech to the assembled helpers. “Our country could never have hosted this World Cup so successfully without your help.”

Port Moresby governor Powes Parkop was similarly effusive in his praise of the fantastic work of local volunteers.

“We are all extremely proud of your efforts, and you should be proud too,” he said. “You are all an important part of this tournament. Your total dedication has made this U-20 Women’s World Cup a success. With your smiles and hospitality, you represent the very best of our city and our nation.”

Parkop went on to underline the importance of this collective experience for the volunteers’ own personal development. “I hope these experiences will pave the way for your own future professional success,” he said.

“You have shown the potential that lies in each one of you. Now it’s up to you to take the opportunity to enhance your careers and use these past few weeks of unforgettable moments and encounters to shape your futures.”

The volunteers’ excitement reached fever pitch when popular local artists Mereani Masani and Dadiigii performed the official tournament song, ‘Kumul Susa’, live on stage.

“Football has brought together countless people from different backgrounds at this FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup,” said Local Organising Committee Chief Executive Officer Seamus Marten.

“I’m overwhelmed by your commitment and warmth. You are the 17th team at this World Cup.”

Story courtesy of FIFA. For more on the world game visit www.fifa.com

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