PHOTO GALLERY: A day of joy (and 5-a-side) at Auckland’s Rainbow Games

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The power of football to bring a community together was evident at the five-a-side football competition held as part of the Auckland’s Rainbow Games.

Six teams battled it out for the title at the tournament for LGBTQI+ players held at Trusts Arena on April 7, 2024, with the A.S.S.E.S playing Lemon Suckers in a tightly contested final.

Lemon Suckers emerged 3-1 winners after they led 1-0 at the break.

Main photo: The winners’ podium at the end of the tournament. Photo credit: OFC Media.

“It was simply amazing; I have met so many new people out here along with friends from my community and just being in a supportive environment is just really open, happy, positive and inclusive, is just an amazing feeling,” said Megan Lee from the winning team.

FIFA Legend Jaiyah Saelua was part of the Lucy’s Goosies team who played in the third and fourth place playoff against Peaches. Saelua headed home the winner in the second half for a 2-1 win.

The players came from as far afield as the United States for the tournament, which was being held in New Zealand for the first time.

Mike Francke from the A.S.S.E.S summed up the spirit of the event.

“The Rainbow Games do an incredible job promoting inclusion and diversity,” he said.

“If you look around, there are players who haven’t had a chance growing up to play football, netball, badminton or tennis, and they feel that this is their day that they want to shine and basically have fun.

“I’m a football player and I can see how football has evolved as far as inclusion and diversity is concerned.”

Lauren, from the Radiqal Rapinoes team, described the experience as “nothing but joy; it’s been a blast and everyone is so lovely.

“There is a real community element of it, and I have grown up playing football, but this is so different, everyone is welcoming and in great spirits and we’ve had such a blast.”

Claire from the Rainbow Beavers had a message for the wider football community.

“Just get involved and be allies. Be there to support us.”


We acknowledge the assistance of OFC Media who provided this story.

Photo credit: OFC Media.

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