THE THIRD instalment of the McDonald’s Joeys Mini World Cup in Inverell is starting to get so big organisers might have to drop the word “mini” from its title soon.
35 teams will play in three divisions at the five-day tournament starting on September 29 and each of those sides now know which country’s colours they will be wearing.
That was decided yesterday when the official draw was conducted at McDonald’s South Tamworth in a FIFA-style event.
Teams were drawn from one cup while the nation they will represent was drawn from another.
“We have 35,” tournament director Heinrich Haussler said.
“There will be eight in the women’s competition, which is very good.
“That will increase.
“There will be between 1400 and 1600 people in town.”
For the first time a team will come from overseas to play in the tournament.
A side from New Zealand will play in the women’s division, and, naturally, they were exempt from the draw because they will represent New Zealand.
More international sides are expected next year.
“Because of this new Facebook page we have we are already getting lots of enquiries for next year,” Haussler said.
“We expect to get up to the maximum of 48 teams.
“If we get more, then we’ll play qualifying tournaments in places like Tamworth, Muswellbrook or Toowoomba.”
Meanwhile, the other 34 sides competing this year also have a national team to their name now.
Instead of drawing teams into pools like in the FIFA finals, the draw conducted yesterday linked teams with national sides.
And instead of Sepp Blatter, the Mini World Cup had the far more attractive Megan Robinson from Armidale handling the draw.
The tournament also has its own World Cup song.
Young South West Rocks musician Josh Needs has written the song and will perform it in Inverell.
“Josh will be at the world cup to play at the dinners,” Haussler said.
“He has composed this little song called ‘Chase’ for the cup.
“Next year we’ll see if the kids can come up with something.”
Needs’s brother Nick used to play for Joeys FC and Haussler was impressed with his music.
That’s not surprising because Tommy Emmanuel invited Needs to play with him on stage recently.
Teams from Inverell, Armidale, Tenterfield, Tamworth, Gunnedah and Muswellbrook will join visiting sides at the tournament, which features under 13s, under 16s and open women’s divisions.