African Stars keen to avenge soccer defeat
THE fifth annual African Stars v Lismore Legends (aka Lismore City Council) soccer clash is coming up, and both sides are keen for a victory.
Councillors Neil Marks, Isaac Smith and Gianpiero Battista will take to the field with council staff against a group of Lismore-based African refugees.
Originally the soccer match was held as an event in conjunction with National Refugee Week in 2008 in an attempt to bridge the cultural gap between the various groups in the community, but has continued and is now a popular annual event.
Where language barriers may be a problem, an internationally known and loved sport may be the answer to cultural connection, said Adeyemi Johnson, a South Sudanese refugee from the African Stars.
The game is about bringing people from all walks of life together, to have some fun and begin to understand each other's stories.
"(Events like this) help most of the guys (refugees) that come here to integrate with society," Mr Johnson said.
After a three-year reign by the African Stars, the Lismore Legends won last year's match 4-2, but Mr Johnson said it's going to be "the first and the last time" the council wins.
"We're always optimistic that we're going to win. Last year we did get a run for our money," Mr Johnson said.
Lismore City Council general manager John Bancroft said while it's all in good fun, the "boys" take it seriously.
"It started off quite socially, but it's become quite competitive," Mr Bancroft said.
"We've gotten rid of some of the soft, wussy office workers and brought in some of the outdoor workers," joked Cr Marks.
The clash takes place next Wednesday at Crozier Oval.
Gates open at 4.30pm with the main game at 6pm.