Plea for fi­nan­cial help to play in Eth­kick


Palmer­ston North’s Karen com­mu­nity is hop­ing its Cin­derella team can go to the ball - the na­tional Eth­kick tour­na­ment of foot­ball that is.

Made up of for­mer refugees who have set­tled in the city from Myanmar, the Kaw Thu Lay Broth­ers have won the Manawatū Eth­kick foot­ball tour­na­ment two years in a row.

How­ever, a lack of money is hin­der­ing their ef­forts to get to the na­tional fi­nals in Auck­land.

Team spokesman Eh Taw Sa said lo­cal win­ners of the Fe­bru­ary tour­na­ment get to rep­re­sent the re­gion at the na­tional seven-a-side Eth­kick Cup in Novem­ber.

Last year the team at­tended the Manukau event and won the plate sec­tion.

This year, the 19-strong squad is again hop­ing to rep­re­sent Palmer­ston North at the Manukau con­test against 45 other teams from around the coun­try.

‘‘They want to make the city proud, but it is too much for our com­mu­nity,’’ Sa said.

Costs for en­try, play­ing strips, trans­port, food and bud­get ac­com­mo­da­tion for the play­ers and their coach are es­ti­mated at $3500.

For­tu­nately, the mayor’s dis­cre­tionary fund helped out on Thurs­day, pro­vid­ing the $400 en­try fee and $500 worth of petrol vouch­ers to­wards travel costs.

Mayor Grant Smith said the city had also come up with Wild­base shirts for the team to play in, and the Manawatū Mul­ti­cul­tural Cen­tre had set up a Givealit­tle page to at­tract $2500 to cover the rest of the costs.

Sa said the Karen com­mu­nity had spent its funds this year on sup­port­ing cul­tural and dance pro­grammes for its young peo­ple, and on set­ting up a women’s group.

She said they were shy about ask­ing for fi­nan­cial help. Though they had worked hard they had run out of time to get enough to­gether to sup­port the foot­ballers.

Eth­kick is a Palmer­ston North in­ven­tion, es­tab­lished by for­mer mayor Heather Tan­guay in 2009 to pro­mote di­ver­sity and in­ter­cul­tural friend­ship through foot­ball.

In 2013 Palmer­ston North’s Eth­kick was recog­nised by the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion with a Na­tional Di­ver­sity Award for its out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment and pro­mo­tion of cul­tural di­ver­sity.

It has grown to be the big­gest eth­nic foot­ball tour­na­ment in New Zealand, quickly catch­ing on in other cen­tres.

Mem­bers of the win­ning 2017 Eth­kick foot­ball team made up from mem­bers of Palmer­ston North’s Karen com­mu­nity, for­mer Myanmar refugees.

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