Jun 30, 2005

South Moluccas Clinches 1st UNPO Football Cup Tournament

National Teams from South Moluccas, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Southern Cameroons and West-Papua participated in the finals of the 1st UNPO Cup in The Hague

The 1st UNPO Football Cup, a tournament formed by teams from nations, minorities and indigenous peoples who are not represented at the national or international level, was opened on June 23, 2005 at The Hague.

The teams participating in the tournament included the South Moluccas, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Southern-Cameroon and West-Papua. All qualifying matches of the tournaments where bitterly disputed by all participants but at the end the final ended in the defeat of the Chechen Team at the hands of the South Moluccas selection.

The Tournament started off with two semi-finals; the first involved the robust team of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria against the enthusiastic members of the Southern-Cameroons team. At the end of the regulation time both teams found themselves in a 2-2 draw. Thanks to the shot-stopping abilities of the Chechen goalkeeper, the Chechens finally won the game on penalties. At the same time the second semi-final was taking place between the well balanced, dynamic & technical team of the South-Moluccas and the persevering West-Papuan team. With just two minutes before the end of the game, the South-Moluccas, who where trailing by one goal, miraculously tied the game. Finally West-Papua went out on penalties and South-Moluccas avanced to the finals against the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.

The final kicked of with a bang. The South-Moluccas team dominated the first half scoring two goals rapidly. The Chechens did not throw the towel and pressed on with a very physical game strategy that paid off when they scored their first goal. Unfortunately for the Chechens, the South-Moluccas late third strike of the game sealed the faith of the tough Chechen team. The South-Moluccas team went on to clinch their first Final appearance in an international football competition.

The General Secretary marked the 1st UNPO Football Cup ceremony with the words of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee: ‘’Never have so many nations cheered the dream of global oneness. Awaiting a spiritual and physical renaissance powerful enough to unite the world’’. Almost 110 years later in a football field in The Hague, these words still resonate with powerful symbolic meaning.

The 1st UNPO Football Cup ceremony awarded each participant identical UNPO football Cup trophies to underline that participation is more important than winning. The Vice-president of the Non-FIFA board, Mr. Jean–Luc Kit, made an exciting speech in which he officially,announced the upcoming World Cup for national selections not represented by FIFA. Mr. Kit also said that Northern-Cyprus would be the host country of the first ‘’VIVA Cup’’, a tournament with a total of 16 teams participating. The Non-FIFA`s board object of business is to federate Football Associations that are not affiliated to FIFA, until their permanent affiliation to the said Federation of International Football Associations, with the aim of organizing football matches on an international scale regardless of political or religious factors.

1st UNPO Football Cup in Pictures

By Daniel Arenas and Maarten Rottschäfer, UNPO Secretariat