Nelson College First XI captain Labu Pan, right, models the All Whites jersey that will be raffled to help the team cover its cost to defend their national title in August. Photo: Jacob Page.

Nelson College footballers in search of funds

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Nelson College’s defence of the National Secondary Schools football tournament in August will rely on eight nationalities coming together as one.

Burmese, Myanmar, German, Thai, Solomon Island, English, Italian players, a Croatian coach and a Scottish manager will all get thrown into making the 2016 team a success.

Manager Dave Tinker says the culture clash means the team has taken time to gel but has improved as the year goes on.

“You put Kiwis on a football field and it’s pretty aggressive, route-one type stuff, then you get the Myanmar boys with their slick, intricate passing, Thomas (Amasia) coming over from the Solomon Islands who is an excellent holding midfielder and David who’s been heavily trained in Germany and comes to us with a totally different philosophy.”

Thomas was part of the Solomon Islands age-group setup and is here on a scholarship, says Dave.

“I picked him after one night in the country and told him to go get his clothes so he opened his drawer and in it was a pair of football boots and shin pads and that was it, not even a toothbrush.

“He only had the clothes he was wearing and that gear.”

Nelson College will be up against the top 16 schools in New Zealand and being champions changes the mindset of the opponents, according to Dave.

“Christchurch Boys’ High School played us at the start of the season and they put 11 behind the ball and played for a draw. We know that everyone is gunning for us – there is no flying under the radar like last year.”

The team are not only trying to raise the skills on the field, but money off it. Getting to the national tournament in Papamoa is likely to cost around $12,000, even on a shoe-string budget.

To help with funding, New Zealand Football has given the team an All Whites jersey signed by the 2016 New Zealand squad that competed at the OFC Nations Cup, which will be won in a raffle. They will also hold a quiz night and auction at Nelson College on August 12.

If anyone wants to get involved in supporting the team or buy a raffle ticket for $5 they can contact Nelson College or email [email protected].

Dave says at this stage he’ll be cooking for 17 people for five nights while on tour. “I hope everyone likes mince and pasta because six games in five days means they’ll need a lot of fuel.”