Viard Col­lege football goes global

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Bishop Viard Col­lege’s first XI football side is mov­ing up the grades, thanks to plenty of Burmese flair.

Af­ter clean­ing up in di­vi­sion 9 in 2011, the team won di­vi­sion 7 last sea­son. This year they are lead­ing di­vi­sion 4 with an 11-1 record, hav­ing scored more than 70 goals.

Coach Daniel Grif­fiths said the suc­cess was be­cause of sev­eral fac­tors, in­clud­ing amaz­ing team spirit, coach­ing from Ole Football Acad­emy, and plenty of nat­u­ral tal­ent.

The ro­bust and long-ball New Zealand style of play was an alien con­cept, he said.

‘‘Th­ese guys all fil­tered through from the ju­nior teams at Viard to­gether, and now we’re see­ing them as se­nior play­ers.

‘‘ They’re fast, they work for each other on the field and keep the ball at their feet – other teams just chase them around for long pe­ri­ods.’’

The squad is made up of eight Burmese, five Pa­cific, one Maori, one Cam­bo­dian and a soli­tary Euro­pean.

They train at Ole – af­ter se­cur­ing a grant from In­fin­ity – and Grif­fiths said the coach­ing of the acad­emy’s Des­mond Mitchell and hav­ing the new turf as their home pitch has made all the dif­fer­ence.

Football was keep­ing the Burmese stu­dents to­gether and giv­ing them con­fi­dence as they set­tled into their new home­land, he said.

‘‘There’s maybe not that many av­enues for them in the wider com­mu­nity. With football they can train and play to­gether, and they love it.

‘‘I’m sure some of them come to school just for football.’’

Viard cap­tain Kyaw Naing Aung said that be­ing a mem­ber of the team was easy, be­cause the play­ers knew each other so well and all liked to play pos­ses­sion football, have fun, and score plenty of goals.

Mitchell said putting the team through their paces was en­joy­able. ‘‘Th­ese guys are pas­sion­ate about the game and they want to stay longer than other teams at prac­tice.

‘‘They’re tech­ni­cally sound and tough to play against.’’

Grif­fiths said football had not had much promi­nence at Viard since the As­cen­sion Priests left in the early 1990s.

Al­though as many as eight of the 1st XI will leave school this year, the now-strong ju­nior pro- gramme would hope­fully en­sure they could stay in one of the top four school di­vi­sions.

In a mini- tour­na­ment with Chanel Col­lege (Master­ton) and St Peter’s Col­lege ( Palmer­ston North) on Au­gust 1 at Ole, Viard beat Chanel 7-1, but lost to St Peter’s 1-0.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Win­ning sea­son: Bishop Viard Col­lege first XI play­ers, from left: Du Too Ko, Kyaw Naing Aung and Rebi Phu Ting are help­ing to put their school on the football map.

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