In a world often divided by differences, sport has the incredible power to unite people across cultures and backgrounds. On Tuesday, 18 August 2023, a remarkable event took place at the Bankstown RSL, a ceremony that highlighted this unifying potential in the most vibrant way possible – the Draw of the ALFA Cup 2023. Attended by a diverse crowd of more than 70 individuals, this event was a celebration of sport, community, and the spirit of togetherness.
The event was graced by the presence of notable personalities including Kylie Wilkinson, MP for East Hills, Clr. Bilal El Hayek, Mayor of Canterbury Bankstown, Clr. Rachelle Harika, representatives of the participating teams, professional football players from Lebanon, and several others who gathered to witness this momentous occasion. Adding a touch of excitement and expertise to the ceremony, the role of Master of Ceremonies was expertly handled by NRL Commentator Anthony Maroon, whose charisma and enthusiasm set the tone for the event.
A significant moment of the ceremony was the speech delivered by Mr. Remy Wehbe, President of the Australian Lebanese Football Association (ALFA). He emphasized the magnitude of the ALFA Cup, which was now in its 9th edition. Mr. Wehbe expressed his gratitude towards the 12 teams participating in this year’s tournament, acknowledging their dedication and enthusiasm for the sport. Furthermore, he extended his thanks to the council and local MPs who have continuously extended their support, playing a crucial role in making this event a reality. Mr. Wehbe’s words not only highlighted the importance of the ALFA Cup as a football tournament but also as a symbol of unity and collaboration.
Mayor Bilal El Hayek also took the stage to address the attendees. His speech focused on the tournament’s significance from a multicultural standpoint, highlighting how sports, especially football, has the unique power to transcend cultural and social barriers. He emphasized that the ALFA Cup was not just about competing for victory but also about fostering relationships and building bridges between communities. The Mayor’s words resonated deeply, reminding everyone that beyond the thrill of the game, it’s the shared experiences and connections that truly matter.
The climax of the event was, of course, the long-awaited draw itself. With bated breath, participants watched as the draw unfolded, determining the matches that would fuel excitement and anticipation in the weeks to come. The outcomes are shared through the following image.
The ceremony was an embodiment of the spirit of unity and friendship that sport can create. It transcended boundaries, bringing together people from various walks of life under the umbrella of their shared passion for football. The ALFA Cup 2023 Draw Ceremony wasn’t just about announcing matches; it was a declaration of the power of sport to connect hearts and minds, and to remind us all that when we come together, we are stronger.
As the event concluded and participants left the Bankstown RSL, they carried with them not only the excitement of the upcoming tournament but also the memory of a day when diversity and harmony took center stage. In a world that often seems fragmented, such events serve as beacons of hope and inspiration, reminding us that regardless of our differences, we can find common ground on the playing field, where the language of sport speaks loudest.
The official ALFA Cup 2023 will take place on Sunday 8 and 15 October 2023. Visit the ALFA website to find out more.