FOOTBALL was replaced by music and kayaks in Inverell yesterday as the fifth Joeys Mini World Cup hit the midpoint of the week-long tournament.
Over 40 teams, including touring teams from Germany and New Zealand, kicked the carnival off on Monday, with all six division observing a rest day yesterday.
Founder Heinrich Haussler said that every year he is seeing a stronger tournament with stronger teams and closer competition in each division.
The first two days’ results can attest to that, with many decided by only one goal, although surprisingly not too many draws.
“The competition is excellent this year,” Haussler said.
“This is the best response we have ever had and the football has been really close.”
The Mini World Cup has this year also taken in a team of referees who are sponsored for the week to officiate the games, as well as getting some extra instruction and education programs along the way, although that isn’t the only new addition.
Today marks the start of a the new Under 9 division as well as a division for disabled players.
“We only got one team of children with disabilities last year but this year we have three,” Haussler said.
“In the Under 9s there will be at least one player with disabilities in each team.
“It is exciting and the numbers give us something to build on.”
In the opening two days Toowoomba Grammar again came to the fore.
The school has close links with the competition after being part of the inaugural year, where 16 teams competed in one division.
Two Grammar sides are occupying the top of the table in the U17s, the side playing as Germany not dropping a game yet, to lead with four from four and a mean for and against of 18 and two.
Their counterparts playing for Argentina have also conceded only two goals, although have only scored eight, including a 1-1 draw against Muswellbrook on Tuesday.
A new format will not see the two sides clash in an all-Queensland final however.
“It is first past the post this year,” Haussler said.
“We got so many divisions with odd numbers that we had to change it.
“Now whoever has the most points at the end of the week will win.”
There was no rest for the organiser yesterday, as he went along on three kayak tours with different groups.
The town hall hosted its first concert night on Tuesday as well, with 300 players and supporters going through the gates. The same was expected last night and even more again tonight.
“It is just getting bigger and bigger,” Haussler said.
“It is disappointing that there are international sides here and no teams from Tamworth and Armidale.”
Play resumes this morning.
Meanwhile in Tamworth the Northern sides are cheering after both the Rising Stars and All Stars beat their Southern Conference counterparts in the end of year exhibition matches.