It was a meaningful Easter Sunday at the Hong Kong International School (HKIS) in Tai Tam on April 21st. Crowded by passionate parents, players and volunteers, HKIS’s outdoor turf made the perfect venue to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The event “Peace and Sport 2019” was hosted by All Black FC and its partners, promoting the message of peace, love and unity through a one-day football tournament with fun activities.
The 6-a-side tournament included 22 teams of different age, gender and ethnicity, with teams arranged into groups of U10, U12, U15 and adults. During the opening ceremony, all participants were waving white cards that meant to symbolize inclusion, equality and peace to support the Peace and Sport’s global “White Card Campaign”.
The event turned out as a big success, encouraging teams to build friendships and learn from one another. For many local participants, it was also their first chance to meet Sporting Clube de Macau (SCM) on the pitch. As some may know, playing football is a luxury for our neighbours in Macau due to the lack of facilities (it is arguably a similar but worse situation to the one in Hong Kong). SCM’s U10, U15 and girl’s teams showed their love for the beautiful game. Both Sporting players and their parents did not hesitate to cheer for their sides, and it was difficult not to hear the chant “Sporting! Sporting! Sporting!” near the pitch. A father from Macau said, ” This is a great event for us to take part in! We (parents and players) enjoyed it a lot and would love to have more opportunities like today to play and build networks with teams in Hong Kong.”
A team member of MCCOC said, “This is a good opportunity to play with teams of different backgrounds, especially the Japanese and the African players. It is a successful event to promote unity through football in Hong Kong.” MCCOC had a competitive game against All Black FC in the adult group and the team from a local church lost by a close margin of 1-2.
As one of the powerhouses of Hong Kong’s youth development, Chelsea Soccer School HK’s U10, U12 and U15 showed their dominance on the pitch. In fact, the academy’s players are not new to play at HKIS. “We have played a couple of times here before, so our players are quite comfortable. The entire event went smoothly, we really appreciate the hosts of the event”, a proud mother said after Chelsea U12’s 5-1 win against All Black FC’s U12.
When being asked about the success of the event, Medard Koya, the co-founder of All Black FC, humbly said, “It is our very first time to organize this event, so there is still a lot to improve. We are an organization with limited funding and network, but it is our pleasure to give back to the community through football, thanks to our sponsors and the help from our partners.”
Perhaps it is too easy for us in Hong Kong to take peace and access to sport and play for granted, without acknowledging the power of sport to empower people from all walks of life and its potential to make the world a better place to live in. Community events like the Peace and Sport 2019 in Hong Kong are a small but significant step for all to start with.