ONCE again the Joeys World Cup has kicked-off for another year with a massive 37 sides entering the tournament, and once again organisers are calling for more support from the council and community.
The World Cup idea is the brainchild of Inverell’s Heinrich Haussler, who despite the rave reviews the event is receiving from the teams, would like to see more interest shown locally and more support given.
Tournament patron and the first coach to take the Socceroos to the World Cup, Rale Rasic, has gone one step further and said that the Inverell council, the mayor, and parliamentary representatives should be ashamed of themselves for not being involved.
“It is now a global event and there are 560 kids playing sport here and bringing money and attention to the town,” Rasic said.
“If the council cannot see the potential and the benefits of this event then they should not be there.
“There aren’t many tournaments in Australia that attract these sort of numbers, it is unbelievable.”
Haussler came up with the idea after seeing a similar thing when he took an Inverell side to Germany on a tour, and has a big vision for the Joeys Mini World Cup.
With so many teams entered and so much interest in the event the organiser wants to make it even more like the real thing by holding qualifying tournaments in regional areas through the year, culminating in the finals week in Inverell. The vision is to prop up football in rural communities, where it is struggling, by holding the qualifying tournaments around the state and country, with the winner getting free passes into the finals week.
“Areas like Moree, Wee Waa, Narrabri and plenty of others could use the event as a great incentive to get kids into sport and football,” Haussler said.
This year’s JMWC already boasts more than $40,000 in prizes including four European coaching trips for the best players, although Haussler would like to see more support from the community and council to recognise his vision.
“I have got some great support from some businesses and people, but the council could be doing more,” Haussler said.
“This is bringing a lot of people to the region for a week and there is no accommodation left in the area.”
“The German side could not buy bread on Sunday because the supermarket had run out.”
“It is getting easier every year and could become a regional event if we get the right support.”