The COMMUNITY spirit was the real winner at the end of the second Confederation Cup of Northern Ireland organized by EMSONI (Ethnic Minority Sports Organization Northern Ireland).
Fifteen communities took part in football matches for two months, with East Timor winning 7-3 over the Romanian representatives in the final. Portugal NI beat Limestone Community 6-1 in the play-off for third place.
Belfast Mayor Councilor Kate Nicholl praised EMSONI for “the inclusiveness, pride and joy they have brought to the multicultural city of Belfast”.
Geraldine McGahey OBE, Chief Commissioner, NI Equality Commission, praised “this brilliant initiative that brings together so many different people. It is so important to focus on what brings us together, like sport, and to accept each other, with our differences.
“The camaraderie of the Romanian and East Timorese players after the final match, despite their intense rivalry on the pitch, and their mutual support during the award ceremony clearly demonstrated the relationship that has formed. I look forward to the next one. tournament in 2022.
Cameron Bolarinwa, EMSONI Youth Ambassador, said: “EMSONI is determined to use this project to open up sport to greater cultural diversity. Thanks to this project, we were able to bring a lot of joy, happiness and entertainment to people after a long and painful confinement.
“The EMSONI family remains grateful to their funders, partners, supporters, volunteers, communities and all who have contributed to the success of this year’s edition. Congratulations to all the teams for their participation – without them it will not be ‘there would be no final where we celebrated humanity.
Adekanmi Abayomi, Founder of EMSONI, said: “Our Northern Ireland Confederation Cup is a demonstration of the importance of football for good community relations.
“People play sports regardless of whether the other team or teammate is from a particular religion or political or cultural background.
“In fact, the lineup has been the real winner here. Catholics and Protestants presented a joint team, with many more Catholics and Protestants playing for ethnic minority teams and vice versa, as the formation of teams from these communities rests on a foundation that attracts inclusion, passion and participation. fostered an atmosphere of acceptance of other cultures.
“We can only coexist if we know each other better,” Adekanmi added. “Sharing knowledge is a two-way street. We, as migrants, need to know the local cultures, and the same with the local people. We both need knowledge to coexist and the best informal way to do this is through a project like our Northern Ireland Confederation Cup. “
Player of the Tournament: Mora Ovidiu (Romania);
Best young player of the tournament: Zemo Oliveira (East Timor);
Best goalkeeper: Sebastian Bajenaru (Romania);
Man of the final: Jorge do Rosario (East Timor);
Golden Boot: Robert McVarnock (Limestone Community) – 11 goals.