ANTIGUA & BARBUDA are still buzzing having won football’s Inner City World Cup.
The Inner City World Cup launched in 1994 in the east end of London and was designed to encourage multicultural grassroots players to represent their origins in the UK.
Leicester hosted its first Inner City World Cup at Victoria Park, London Road as part of a nationally-run project celebrating diversity and promoting community integration.
Despite torrential rain, 184 players from 16 countries representing Leicester-based grassroots football teams turned out in a powerful show of togetherness and solidarity.
The day’s winners eventually triumphed, beating Ghana 1-0 in the final.
This coveted tournament has participants from far and wide with some 85 countries being represented in London, Liverpool, New York and now Leicester.
Antigua and Barbuda became the first Caribbean team to win the tournament
Other teams who took part included Colombia, Ecuador, England, Eritrea, India, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Poland, Somali, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand and Turkey.
Antigua and Barbuda team were brought together and formed by a local business man Learie Gonsalves, the director of One Building Solution Ltd, Cheddi Gore, national community engagement manager at Sport England, Jorrin John, a former Leicester City and Antigua & Barbuda player and Vince John, Under 17’s manager at Stoneygate Lions FC.
Gonsalves, who acted as team secretary, said: “Winning the tournament has been a huge and positive achievement as it gives a better balanced view of youth activity in the inner city.
“It has also provided a great sense of pride for the players of their heritage along with the coming together of the Leicester community.
“I would like to thank event founder Mark Abery for choosing to put the event on in Leicester along with Leicester Nirvana FC for supporting the team under Leicester and Rutland County FA rules for entering into a tournament and the respective clubs for allowing the use of their players.
A proud Abery added: “What a memorable day – we were privileged to have been able to bring the Inner City World Cup to Leicester which showcased the city for the wonderfully warm and diverse place it is.
“We can’t wait until next year with more country teams, kids and women’s football and food stalls planned.”