Atta Elayyan, a goalkeeper for New Zealand’s international futsal team was one of the victims of the horrific Christchurch terror attacks, New Zealand football has confirmed.
New Zealand’s biggest side, Wellington Phoenix paid tribute to Elayyan and all the victims of the attack ahead of their match with the Western Sydney Wanderers, the players and officials formed a huddle:
Extraordinary post match presser. Absolutely raw emotion from Mark Rudan. Tears. “Those people didn’t deserve that. I didn’t really care much about the game tonight. It was about those people. Sorry, you’re not going to get too much football talk out of me tonight.” pic.twitter.com/bgyV99IZwZ
— Jason Pine (@pineyzb) March 17, 2019
All of the tributes that have poured in for Elayyan have spoke of the 33-year-old’s kind and humble character, according to New Zealand news website, Stuff, the goalkeeper spent a lot of his time off the pitch coaching young footballers from his old High School.
Ronan Naicker, New Zealand Football’s futsal development officer in Christchurch spoke about the Kuwait-born stopper who he coached for five years:
“He tried to give back to his old school by coaching teams. Even though he didn’t have the time he still found time and he did it all for nothing,” Naicker told Stuff on Sunday.
“He never asked for anything in return. He was a truly exceptional human being.”
Josh Margetts, the Futsal Development Manager at New Zealand, was a team-mate of Elayyan in the Futsal Whites, this is what Margetts had to say on his teammate’s tragic passing, according to the official New Zealand Football website.
“Atta was a great man and well-liked by everyone in the Futsal Whites squad and the futsal community,” said Margetts.
“There are no words to sum up how we are all feeling.”
“There is huge hole in our hearts as we come to terms with the loss of a great person and a good mate. He will be sorely missed.”
QUOTE | @NZ_Football Futsal Development Manager @margetts_josh: “To Atta’s family, we are deeply sorry for your loss. We can’t imagine what you are going through, but please know we love you and we are here for you during this incredibly difficult time.” #RIPAtta @MainlandFooty pic.twitter.com/tCcileWiUK
— New Zealand Football (@NZ_Football) March 17, 2019
Some of Elayyan’s friends took to social media to pay tribute to the humble goalkeeper:
My Heart is broken, a role model to myself and so many in the futsal community, a loving KIWI father, husband, friend and futsal player. You won’t ever meet a more down to earth, humbling person. May you Rest In Peace my friend @attaelayyan ???? #ChristchurchTerrorAttack pic.twitter.com/r631Ly0iPz
— Kyle Wisnewski (@wiswaskins) March 16, 2019
I can't believe it. That they would take you. 1 of the best. Dedicated Muslim. Friendly Kiwi. Proud Father, wife. Successful app developer. International futsal player for New Zealand.
You're everything that New Zealand stands for and we must respond in the same way. pic.twitter.com/qXVoLcAobP
— Matt Futsal Fejos (@MattFutsalFejos) March 16, 2019
Melbourne Victory’s Kiwi striker Kosta Barbarouses showed his class when he honoured the victims of the attack with a touching goal celebration:
A non-Muslim footballer in New Zealand, Kosta Barbarouses pays his respects to the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack by performing a Sajdah after scoring a goal #ChristchurchTerrorAttack pic.twitter.com/ckAxw8cR5q
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) March 16, 2019
We’d also like to take this opportunity to commend everyone involved with New Zealand Football and all of the nation’s teams for how they’ve reacted to the tragedy, they can be immensely proud with the respect they’ve shown to victims of the attacks.
Our thoughts are with the families and friends of everybody who has been affected by this horrific tragedy.