Congratulations to Christchurch United academy players Rico Pradhan and Ollie Williams who played in the Māori Football Aotearoa North Vs South series this week which connects football with Māori culture.
The club is honoured to have multiple players involved in the series and for these boys to represent Aotearoa at the highest level.
Both boys represented the U16s South Team drawing 2-2 with the favourites North Team, Rico Pradhan captained the team and has been part of Māori Football Aotearoa for the last four years. We caught up with him straight after the game.
"To be part of Māori Football Aotearoa is amazing, we have had experiences playing Cook Islands and top players from NZ secondary schools which means I meet so many new people and friends. I also grow relationships I've built at earlier competitions at the sametime. We learn so much about Māori culture, for example after trainings we would learn the haka and what it means"
"The 2-2 game was very intense, previously in 2021 we were winning 3-1 but lost concentration and lost the game. This time it was different, we scored first 1-0, then North equalised, then we scored to make it 2-1, North managed to get a goal back ending 2-2."
"To captain the whole of the South was an awesome feeling and it showed my team-mates had faith in me which gave me a confidence boost which I used for the teams advantage and spread that confidence throughout the squad. Playing against North we installed believe that we could get a result"
"Im looking forward to being part of the U18s squad at the next event and to continue all the great work the U16s have started"