Along with summer comes the fun of the fair, but a different gala was in play at Mangawhai Domain recently, one which challenged the skills and determination of those who attended.
Enthusiastic soccer players of all ages, and the curious, took part in Mangawhai Football Club’s (MFC) first annual Football Fair fundraiser on January 15. However the usual fairground side stalls were all orientated around soccer with the original 17 games, designed and constructed by MFC members, intended to test player ball-handling techniques to earn fun prizes.
Mangawhai Football Club’s vice president, Matt Rowe, says the aim of the fair was for everyone to have fun while fundraising for the club with the proceeds going towards restoring the Domain’s grounds.
“I’d like to thank the volunteers on the day and especially the club members who helped me build the games over Christmas,” he says. “The Domain, while grassy, doesn’t have a nice flat surface to play competitive sport on so we’re going to install proper drainage and irrigation to create nice fields. It’s amazing what a difference this will mean to the kids who are learning to play.”
City football clubs have had quality playing fields provided by councils for many years Rowe says, and have seen a boost in numbers and improvement in player’s skill level.
“Unfortunately we’re not in that position in Mangawhai so we’re raising the money through other means, hence our move to becoming an incorporated society. This not only fits with our intention to become a more transparent and better organised club but also allows us to apply for funding from charities that were closed to us before. It will also bring football into Mangawhai.”
Football is not the only sport that would benefit from improved fields at the Domain. The MFC have been in discussions with the Mangawhai Domain Committee to plan how the grounds can be more utilised.
“At the moment I don’t believe there are any other organised winter sports in Mangawhai,” Rowe says. “The back of the domain is currently lumpy and the grass is patchy so it’s underused. We’re looking to convert this area into pitches and training fields that can be played on by multiple sports.”
MFC has seen a 20 per cent increase in membership over the last four years and currently stands at 175 players with the Summer Football Tournament, which now includes Children’s Summer Football, experiencing a 50 per cent increase this season. The club became part of the Northern Football Federation late last year and can now offer coaching in line with New Zealand Football and internationally proven curriculum and training methods.
Rowe says the club’s committee has put a huge amount of work into delivering fresh ideas and improvements.
“It was clear last year that we were growing as we put more and more effort into the club. The positive comments we received means we’ll definitely run the football fair again, it’s been a great fundraiser,” he says. “This club is about putting smiles on faces, kids and parents alike.”
Due to popular demand for more Children’s Summer Football, MFC have organised two more sessions, on January 27 and February 3 at 4.30pm.
MFC also wants to build stronger ties with the Mangawhai community and are looking for sponsors and help with fundraising from locals and businesses. For more information, check out the clubs new website mangawhaifootballclub.co.nz.
1: Kids queued up for a chance to burst water balloons over coach Bobby Farmer. Son Jack succeeded.
2: Messi Maze tested player hand-eye co-ordination.
3: Not just for the kids, adults had a go at tackling the Bacalona Tiki Taka.
4: Proving harder than it looked was a football version of Tic Tac Toe.
5: Star Wars shootout, a chance to kick down the baddies.
BY JULIA WADE