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EMSONI – Ethnic Minority Sports Organisation Northern Ireland is pleased to announce the commencement of its annual Northern Ireland Confederation Cup 2022 with the defending champion East Timor NI and Ghana NI playing the opening match today, Sunday, 12th June 2022, at Midgley Park Belfast, 5:45pm.

Adekanmi Abayomi (Chair, EMSONI) said: “This year makes the third edition of our Northern Ireland Confederation Cup, growing from strength to strength. Our Northern Ireland Confederation Cup is now the biggest intercommunity 11 aside football tournament – developing it from 12 participating communities in 2019 to 20 participating communities in 2022.”

Abena Aduse-Poku (Volunteer, EMSONI) said: “The theme of this year edition is ‘building stronger connections.’ This tournament is significantly about giving talents within the communities who have no opportunity to play at the league level – a great opportunity to play with the aim to address disparity in performance. It is also a platform to help people both players and spectators the chance to build stronger connections.”

“The tournament will take place over a period of 11 weeks across various venues in Belfast including Ulidia Playing Fields, Olympia Leisure Centre, Midgley Park, Seaview Stadium, Whiterock Leisure Centre, and Avoniel Leisure Centre.”

The Northern Ireland Confederation Cup is the brainchild of EMSONI, and an initiative designed in 2019 to help communities and people build and sustain connections. It is also to explore and develop the conditions needed to build better and longer-lasting ways of bringing people together. This year’s tournament has welcomed 5 new communities – including the Arab, Carryduff, East Africans, LGBTQ+ and Nepalese.

On May 17, 2022, at the Townsend Enterprise Park Belfast, the draw for the tournament was held and the 20 participating communities were grouped into four groups of five teams in each group. The draw was graciously coordinated by Coach Donald Malomo–Paris (A pro license Football Coach) and John Toal (A veteran radio presenter with the BBC Radio Ulster).

We have East Timor NI, Ghana NI, South Belfast Asia NI, Carryduff NI and East Africa NI in group A

Group B will host Romania NI, North Africa NI, Poland NI, Homeless NI and Somalia NI

Group C accommodates Guinea Bissau NI, Zimbabwe NI, Arab NI, International NI and Eritrea NI.

Group D has Limestone NI, Nigeria NI, Nepal NI, LGBTQ+ NI and Sudan NI

Two teams will qualify from each group for the quarterfinals.

The matches will be played on the following’s dates: 12th June 2022, 19th June 2022, 26th June 2022, 3rd July 2022, 10th July 2022, 17th July 2022, 24th July 2022, 31st July 2022, 7th August 2022, 14th August 2022, and 20th August 2022 at six different venues in Belfast.

John Toal featured Northern Ireland Confederation Cup on his John Toal Show on Saturday May 21, and he said, this year tournament is getting bigger, proving that this place is becoming more than just simply Orange and Green. According to him, EMSONI’s diligence has made it possible for the Everton FC of England and Nigerian winger – Alex Iwobi to identify with the project. Alex Iwobi phoned in on the John Toal show to express his support for Northern Ireland Confederation Cup.

Adekanmi Abayomi (Chair, EMSONI) said: “Before the draw, EMSONI hosted coach development workshop as a part of the Northern Ireland Confederation Cup 2022 on Saturday, 14 May 2022 at Sandy Row Community Centre Belfast where we had 42 coaches with the aim of building their coaching capacity. The coaches are passionate about their communities and the game, but they need more support so that they can continue to do the job positively. The workshop helped them with tips on how to prepare their teams for tournaments, to analyse performance, to manage conflict within their teams, to run sessions and to understand tactics and formations. It was an opportunity for the individual coaches to also network with themselves to break barriers and to promote connectivity and multiculturalism.”

The final of Northern Ireland Confederation Cup will be held on Saturday, 20th August 2022 during the Confederation Festival at the Ulidia Playing Fields, Belfast.

NICC 2022! Building Stronger Connections!

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