Stadium home to champions (NZ)

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There are three championship teams which are proud to call the eastern suburbs home.

It’s been a stellar year for Kohimarama-based teams the Auckland Pirates, the East AFF Futsal Whites and the Sparta Volleyball club.

Each club holds the current national title for its code.

Club members will celebrate their success at the ASB Stadium’s 25th jubilee next month.

ASB Stadium Affiliated Sports Clubs chairman Neville Thomson says this is the first year all three teams have won.

“It’s great to have all these teams here. The venue is so great for them and the vision for ASB Stadium is to incorporate the surrounding areas and have a lot more sport happening here so it will be known as a world class facility.

He says all the clubs make it a priority to foster players at all levels.

Mr Thomson has been working with other clubs to create a Friday night event where young people can play many different sports in one place and hang out with their friends. Futsal, volleyball, basketball and badminton clubs are involved.

Auckland Basketball development co-ordinator Randy Skelton says being based at the stadium makes the club more accessible to youth all over the city.

“It’s very central and it’s the perfect size for our home games. The young kids realise that there is a gateway to playing basketball seriously because they see the Pirates based here.

“Auckland Basketball needs to be a flagship for Auckland sports. It’s such a big area and we’ve got so many immigrants who come from countries where it’s their national sport.”

East AFF Futsal Whites is the oldest futsal club in New Zealand and is one of the only clubs that plays on an international sized indoor court.

Co-ordinator Barbara Gwilliams says the club is improving by the season and now has eight national players.

Organisers of the 25th jubilee are calling on former members, previous board members and any other affiliates of the stadium to come back and help celebrate the milestone. Contact Mr Thomson on 0274 951 611 or NevilleThomson@xtra.co.nz if you would like to register or for more information.

WINNING COMBINATION: Three national champion teams call ASB Stadium home. Sparta Volleyball Club’s Neville Thomson, Barbara Gwilliams of East AFF Futsal Whites and Brook Rusce and Randy Skelton of Auckland Basketball show off the silverware.

WINNING COMBINATION: Three national champion teams call ASB Stadium home. Sparta Volleyball Club’s Neville Thomson, Barbara Gwilliams of East AFF Futsal Whites and Brook Rusce and Randy Skelton of Auckland Basketball show off the silverware. Photo by Esther Lauaki.

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