Thousands of young South Aucklanders will get their first experience of football activities thanks to an innovative community programme run by Manukau United FC, and supported by Friends of Football.
One of the key tools being used by Manukau United to introduce youngsters to football is an inflatable playground, called Hungerball (Hia Pōro), which encourages boys and girls to ‘have a go’.
The Hungerball project will be sponsored by Friends of Football through its Helping Hands Fund.
Friends of Football committee member Allan Yates (left) with Manukau United chair Hone Fowler.
“We’re over the moon to announce that we’ll be able to increase our impact in the South Auckland community and provide an unforgettable first taste of football to more kids over the coming months, thanks to the support from Friends of Football,” Hone Fowler, chair of Manukau United, said.
The Helping Hands Fund aims to support projects and initiatives that deliver benefits to football in innovative ways.
The fund was launched in 2021 with an initial pool of $20,000 to support ventures such as Hungerball.
“We believe the work that Manukau United is doing in the South Auckland community is really making a difference to people’s lives and the Hungerball project is a practical way for us to support those efforts,” Friends of Football chair Josh Easby says.
Friends of Football is an independent group of football supporters whose aims include helping help promote the sport, recognising achievement and protecting its heritage.
Fundraising events provide the funds to be distributed through the Helping Hand Fund.
How Hungerball works
Creator of Hungerball and psychologist Andu Iordache designed the game to make it fun and accessible to young people.
The inflatable pitch 10 metres in diameter with six goals. If the circular arena was a clock, the goals are at 12 o’clock, 2 o’ clock, 4 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 8 o’clock and 10 o’ clock.
A net stops the ball from escaping. Players defend their own goal and attack other goals either individually or in teams.
How Helping Hand works