The ‘Nike Football in the Gap’ new synthetic pitch was unveiled in the Christchurch, New Zealand on Monday the 15th of October. The All Whites who are in Christchurch to play a World Cup qualifier against Tahiti helped to spark life into the Christchurch red zone as they competed in a 5-aside tournament with local teams. Local Cantabrian and All White Ben Sigmund officially launched the initiative before passing it on to the City Council on Monday afternoon. Fellow All Whites Marco Rojas and Kosta Barbarouses were also at the event.
‘Nike Football In The Gap’ is a cooperative project which sees Nike and other local businesses help to rebuild Christchurch by opening a new synthetic grass pitch. The pitch will remain open at least until March 2013 and be open to the community allowing anyone to play on it. Inspired by the Christchurch rebuild Nike saw an opportunity to use football to constitute a positive effect on the local community. This project will give young footballers a way to bring back the city through the 5-aside game (Click here to see Nike’s 5-aside boot range). An initiative which will change people’s perceptions of the red zone and to bring more people back to the Christchurch CBD.
On the 22nd of February 2011 Christchurch experienced a severe 6.3 magnitude earthquake which devastated the city killing 185 people. This was the second major earthquake in the city, the first one being on the 4th of September 2010. The earthquakes ravaged CBD buildings leaving vacant red zone spaces. One of the vacant red zone spaces has been transformed into a public pitch.
Christchurch born and All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen will make his home town debut when he takes on Tahiti on Tuesday. Nelsen declared himself fit after clearing any rumours of his knee injury. After a successful 2-0 win in Tahiti the All Whites are looking to repeat the feat in Christchurch on Tuesday. The All Whites and the artificial pitch will spark life back into the Christchurch CBD and their rebuild. Football In The Gap, Forever Christchurch.
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