The Coffs Coast Advocate - - FRONT PAGE - BY MATT DEANS

COFFS Har­bour to­mor­row lays claim to it’s sec­ond in­ter­na­tional foot­ball event in three years, with the Tag World Cup be­ing staged at the Coffs Har­bour Sta­dium.

The event, at­tract­ing 169 teams from 32 na­tions, starts to­mor­row af­ter an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony was held in Syd­ney.

For Coffs Har­bour the Tag World Cup fol­lows the city’s claim to the 2015 Touch Foot­ball World Cup.

ITF Chair­man Stu­art McCon­nell said the Coffs Har­bour tag tour­na­ment fol­lows the in­au­gu­ral event in Auck­land in 2012 and the sec­ond edi­tion staged on the Sun­shine Coast in 2015.

“Ev­ery sin­gle World Cup is grow­ing in num­bers, teams and par­tic­i­pa­tion and this world cup is no dif­fer­ent,” McCon­nell said.

“I’ll have to say the Aus­tralian teams are the favourites in most di­vi­sions, but I think there are go­ing to be a cou­ple of sur­prises.”

Coffs Har­bour City Coun­cil will to­day open the tour­na­ment at the sta­dium while un­veil­ing the new nam­ing right spon­sor for the lo­cal sport­ing arena, which is cur­rently un­der­go­ing a $13 mil­lion up­grade.

“We have got an un­be­liev­able sta­dium and we are re­ally go­ing to make them feel wel­come,” Coffs Har­bour Mayor Denise Knight said.

Ar­riv­ing Down Un­der a num­ber of vis­it­ing team cap­tains can’t wait for the play.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to play­ing in­ter­na­tional teams not just Aus­tralia and Great Bri­tain be­cause that’s what we are use to," Ire­land women’s player Aifric O’Mal­ley said.

South Africa’s Shaun Harvie spoke up the growth and com­pet­i­tive­ness of the game in his home­land.

“We think we can be com­pet­i­tive and re­ally give other coun­tries that we are play­ing against a good go," Harvie said.

Aus­tralia’s own Nathan Lai said New Zealand and the Aus­tralian In­dige­nous loomed as omi­nous op­po­nents.

“It will also be in­ter­est­ing to see how some of these na­tions that have started to grow are re­ally com­ing along,” Lai said.

While In­dige­nous player Zoe Parkes spoke of the hon­our of play­ing for her peo­ple.

“I’m re­ally proud to rep­re­sent my in­dige­nous cul­ture, it means a lot to my fam­ily.”

Play starts at the sta­dium to­mor­row.

Photo: Aus­tralian Oz Tag

LAUNCH: The 2018 Tag World Cup has been launched in Syd­ney this week with a lo­cal open­ing cer­e­mony at Coffs Har­bour Sta­dium to­day ahead of the start of play to­mor­row.

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