GOOD TIMES: The Goonellabah Football Club’s under-13s team played the Japanese football team Yamato Takada at their home ground on Sunday. From left is Daisuke Toda, Jack Franey, Keito Furudate, Nathan Blanksby, Takuma Koneda, Kate Murdock, Hiroki Takenaka and Katie Brooks.
GOOD TIMES: The Goonellabah Football Club’s under-13s team played the Japanese football team Yamato Takada at their home ground on Sunday. From left is Daisuke Toda, Jack Franey, Keito Furudate, Nathan Blanksby, Takuma Koneda, Kate Murdock, Hiroki Takenaka and Katie Brooks. Doug Eaton

Lessons learnt and new mates made

FLEDGLING Goonellabah FC juniors gained fresh football skills and made new mates in a memorable contest.

The club's under-13 side took on counterparts from Lismore's sister city Yamato Takada in a friendly match.

Sunday's match, which the Japanese team won comfortably, helped mark 50th anniversary celebrations commemorating the two cities' relationship.

Goonellabah's Kevin Franey said the talented opposition had shown his players the benefits of regular training.

"Apparently they train five days a week for two hours - and it showed," he said.

"They gave us a great orchestration of high-quality soccer skills.

"We were competitive for most of the match (though) and our kids did well.

"The match was played in a great spirit and I think the kids had a lot of fun."

The match was played over four 20-minute quarters and featured rotating subs, allowing all players to have a run.

As well as playing the contest, which was held at Goonellabah's Weston Park ground, the Japanese children have enjoyed a tour of the FNC and southern Queensland's popular tourist sites.

Officials and players have also stayed with local families during their brief visit to the region.

Franey said he hoped his players had benefited from the match.

"I think the kids will now have an understanding of the skills they can get close to if they practise hard enough," he said.

"It may also have given them an insight into communicating with people from other cultures and improved their ability to interact with other people.

"It was a great match and the kids had a fantastic time." Franey thanked all coaches involved, Football Far North Coast general manager Steve Mackney and everyone who assisted the event.



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