Above: Jody Mintern, Reclink Australia’s Sports Coordinator for the Greater City Of Shepparton, pictured at the post-event ceremony with the organisers of the Nation Cup (Source: Shepparton Nations Cup Facebook page).
Reclink Australia were delighted to be involved in collaborating with local community organisations in Shepparton to support the inaugural Nations Cup football tournament recently.
The birth of the Nations Cup took place following a separate ‘Iraqi Golden Cup’ within Shepparton in October, where young men from the Iraqi community were coming together in an informal way to meet and make teams to play against each other each night.
Local resident Abbas Al-Najar subsequently decided that with a significantly multicultural and diverse demographic present in the Shepparton region, a natural progression for expanding this concept was via a formalised and structured Nations Cup.
Initially, eight teams were involved in the planning, with representation set to come from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Congo, Australia, Italy, Albania, and Turkey. Soon teams from the Middle East and India joined, however India then dropped out and they were replaced by a team representing Nepal.
Each team had a minimum of 12 players representing them, with a minimum age of 16 and a requirement to also allocate their own coach/team manager.
Jody Mintern, Reclink Australia’s Sports Coordinator for the Greater City Of Shepparton, explained that Reclink had become involved when one of the Iraqi Golden Cup’s founders, Ali Al Battaat, made enquiries to the Greater Shepparton City Council about sourcing some assistance for running the planned Nations Cup tournament.
“Mariola from Council reached out to see if we could help, which led to a conversation between Ali and myself,” Jody said.
“The end result was that would be able to provide support in funding the use of the soccer field for the Cup, as well as helping with finding temporary seating that the spectators would be able to use and also providing soccer jerseys to one of the teams.
“From here, we also spoke about helping out with the Nations Cup behind the scenes and providing items for the volunteers for distribution at the end of the tournament,” she said.
Jody said that the tournament was incredibly successful at uniting young men from the local area to enjoy football, as well as the wider community being able to attend and support their respective teams, with attendance topping 1,150 at last Saturday night’s Grand Final event.
The Grand Final also featured appearances from the local police force – who took the opportunity to play and mingle with the crowds – as well as Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Cr Shane Sali – who displayed his support by assisting with the post-event formalities.
Jody said that the efforts put in by everybody to achieve such a fantastic event was particularly admirable given the planning process had only commenced a few months ago, with high hopes to build on the event and make it an annual celebration.
“The plan is to make both the Iraqi Golden Cup and the Nations Cup regular events to allow young men to come together and play a sport that they enjoy at a social level,” she said.
Follow the Shepparton Nations Cup on Facebook by visiting their page HERE.
Above: A sizeable crowd gathers to watch the inaugural Nations Cup in Shepparton (Source: Shepparton Nations Cup Facebook page).
ARTICLE: Sam Wharton.