Lismore City councillors and staff are scheming to beat a group of African refugees tomorrow. We’re talking football, of course.
Council staff will be trying to reclaim a trophy – and their pride – at the annual match between African All Stars and Lismore Legends football match at the Southern Cross University campus..
Over the last eight years, the football friendly has helped build relationships between council workers and African refugees from Sudan, the Congo and Sierra Leone.
According to the council, the social interaction breaks down barriers with authority and helps the African community feel more confident and at ease accessing local government services.
Despite its humble beginnings, the match has become hotly contested over the years, with some robust sporting competition between the two teams.
‘They absolutely whooped us last year and we want that trophy back!’ laughed Lismore Legends captain Brent McAlister, by day the executive director of sustainable development at Lismore City Council.
‘It’s still based on friendship of course, but we certainly don’t go out there to lose. We have some very passionate football fans on both teams and it shows on the field.
‘That’s exactly why the football friendly started – because football is the “world game”, and it’s something that speaks to so many people across different nations.
‘The annual match has been a wonderful experience for all involved, and it’s now a tradition that’s growing every year,’ Mr McAlister said.
This year, the event even has a curtain raiser, in the form of Southern Cross University vs Lismore Police & Emergency Services, which kicks off at 4.30pm before the main event at 6pm.
The football friendly will be played at the Asia Pacific Football Institute soccer field at Southern Cross University (entry via Crawford Road).
There will be a free BBQ and spectators are very welcome.