Tasman United player and Syrian refugee Ahmad Osman says he felt unsafe as a Muslim man following the terror attacks in Christchurch. Photo: Shuttersport.

Football community in mourning

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Following the devastating terror attacks in Christchurch on Friday, two football matches that were set to be played in Nelson at the weekend were called off.

Nelson Suburbs and Tasman United were scheduled to play Christchurch teams Coastal Spirit and the Canterbury United Dragons.

Suburbs operations manager Gary Hinks was caught up in the drama as it unfolded on Friday afternoon.

Gary was part of a lockdown at his grandchild’s daycare centre.

He and his daughter went to the daycare at around 3pm and were told they could not leave.

“They locked the gates and the doors and had us all in a room in the middle of the daycare.”

It wasn’t until three hours later that they were able to go home.

Gary says the football community is in mourning and the decision to postpone the match against Coastal Spirit was the right one.

“Both Mainland and Nelson bays Football knew some of the victims, we certainly understood the fact they called it off.”

Gary says it is important to show respect for the victims and those affected by the attacks.

“It is a sad time for the people targeted, we just have to think of them as we go on.”

Tasman United player and Syrian refugee Ahmad Osman says he never thought something like this would happen here in New Zealand.

“At a certain point, even I felt unsafe as Muslim.”

Ahmed says one of the people who was killed in the attacks was a Syrian who only had only moved to Christchurch a couple of months ago.

“He came here as a refugee, so I can’t tell how I felt to hear that, I know how lucky he thought he was to be in New Zealand.”

He says he has been inundated with messages of support from his Kiwi friends.

“To all my Muslim brothers and sisters, one person won’t change our thoughts about this country, we will stand together, stronger.”