Gib­neys swept up in soc­cer

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

AN OF­FER of a free trip to Brazil’s Soc­cer World Cup is never what any­one ex­pects when an­swer­ing a phone call from the boss.

But that’s the jaw-drop­ping line Monto IGA man­ager Peter Gib­ney was asked just un­der a month ago.

“At first I thought it was a joke, but then I said yeah, of course,” Mr Gib­ney said, with a laugh.

So thanks to the Monto com­mu­nity, who thrust the lit­tle lo­cal IGA into first spot in a statewide com­pe­ti­tion to in­crease sales, Mr Gib­ney and son Matthew Gib­ney went to Brazil, re­turn­ing last Wed­nes­day from their South Amer­i­can ad­ven­ture.

“Soc­cer is re­li­gion in Brazil, it was ab­so­lutely crazy,” Mr Gib­ney said.

“Ev­ery house had a Brazil­ian flag, ev­ery shop sold Brazil­ian soc­cer jer­seys, the flag and the colours were every­where,” he said.

“And the tourists were very ob­vi­ous; you could pick out these tribes in the crowd wear­ing their na­tion’s colours.”

Mr Gib­ney and his son, with the IGA win­ners from ev­ery other Aus­tralian state, at­tended the Hol­land v Costa Rica semi-fi­nal, which ended in a penalty shoot-out.

“Costa Rica was just dev­as­tated when they lost, people were re­ally so up­set,” he said.

But he said it was when Brazil’s cap­tain was yel­low carded, fol­lowed by the home side’s dev­as­tat­ing 7-1 loss to Ger­many, that the people’s in­cred­i­ble pas­sion for the game was ob­vi­ous.

“People on the street were cry­ing and cry­ing, they had tears rolling down their cheeks,” he said.

“It makes you re­alise that soc­cer re­ally is the world’s game, not rugby league!”

He said while the poverty was ob­vi­ous, and the pair had run-ins with anti-world cup demon­stra­tors, the event showed what an amaz­ing equaliser sport could be be­tween rich and poor na­tions.

“You couldn’t help but get swept up in it all, be­ing part of a mo­ment in his­tory was ex­tra­or­di­nary,” Mr Gib­ney said of their nine-day jour­ney.

FEVER PITCH: Monto IGA man­ager Peter Gib­ney and son Matthew Gib­ney at the Soc­cer World Cup in Brazil.

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