Footballers take aim at charity goal

Footballers take aim at charity goal

Football and food have provided a boost to the campaign to build a community centre and school in an impoverished Cambodian village.

As reported on Ten One, National Command and Coordination Centre shift coordinator Sakaline Sapeas and her brother Sakirin – whose family were refugees from Cambodia at the time of Pol Pot – are campaigning to raise money to build the centre in Phsar Trach, Kompong Chnang, around 65km north-west of the capital Phnom Penh.

A Police team and a community team met at Wakefield Park, Island Bay, last month on a Sunday that started out with torrential rain and even hail that gave way to blue skies just as the event began.

Around 150 people turned out to watch and enjoy the pitchside bake sale, with $600 being raised for the cause.

The Police team – with staff from as far afield as Masterton, bolstered by recruits from the Royal New Zealand Police College – took a 4-1 lead in the first half before the community team fought back for a 4-4 draw. A rematch is on the cards for the New Year.

Sakaline says she was amazed by the level of support - from the players, to Police’s official football team which provided the strip, to community members and volunteers who provided food to sell.

“The atmosphere was amazing,” she says. “Huge thanks to everyone who helped out or just came along.”

A proportion of the money raised was earmarked to support 13-year-old Toby Sullivan, who is facing extensive chemotherapy at Starship Hospital. However, Toby had different ideas.

“Toby specifically requested that the funds go towards the school as one day when he recovers he plans to visit it,” says Sakaline. “What an admirable attitude.”

For more information on the cause and to donate, click here. To donate to Starship, click here.