Annual African football friendly builds community
Lismore City Council staff will be looking to retain their trophy when the African All Stars vs Lismore Legends annual soccer match kicks off on Thursday, 8 November.
The Council team ended a three-year losing streak in 2017 and Mayor Isaac Smith, a keen soccer player, said competition from both teams would be fierce.
The annual football match began in 2007 as a way to build relationships between African refugees and local government employees. The match has evolved into a community event with families of Council staff, African refugees and community members coming together to share food and watch the on-field action.
“The original idea for the football friendly was to try and ensure refugees felt comfortable accessing essential services and approaching their local council, and the world game seemed the perfect way to build relationships and break down barriers,” Mayor Isaac Smith said.
“It has become an annual tradition and one that is hotly contested each year. Council won back the trophy last year after a hat trick of losses, so we are very keen to hang onto the silverware!”
African All Stars captain Adeyemi Johnson said the African community looked forward to the annual football match as it demonstrated Lismore’s commitment to resettling refugees and making them feel welcome in their new home country.
“It fosters relationships between refugees and those people already living in the community,” he said.
“It helps to build strong bonds between new refugees and make them feel accepted in this society. The love and affection shown to us by Council really builds the confidence of new refugees.”
The 2018 African All Stars vs Lismore Legends soccer match includes a free community BBQ and spectators are very welcome to attend.
A children’s game for six to 10-year-olds will be played from 4.45pm followed by the main game at 5.15pm. The games will be held at Crozier Field, 144 Magellan Street, Lismore.