More than 4000 Indians descended on Vibert Reserve last weekend for the Shepparton Punjabi Sports Club’s annual soccer tournament.
Played on Saturday and Sunday, teams from Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Shepparton went head-to-head to claim bragging rights in a fun and friendly environment.
The Shepparton side was undefeated after two games, but a 3-0 win and a 1-1 draw were not enough to see the side progress through to the semi-finals, bowing out on goal difference.
Shepparton striker Sunny Lehal starred, netting three of his side’s four goals.
Despite not progressing, playing coach and tournament organiser Nav Gill was delighted with how the weekend went.
‘‘It was a fantastic weekend, we had so many people from far and wide stay in Shepparton and get together,’’ Gill said.
‘‘It was a great environment with free food and activities, while there were also things to do for the kids.’’
The Shepparton club played one of its games under lights on Saturday.
Gill is hoping to make the tournament bigger and better.
‘‘We will looking at including teams from Adelaide and Brisbane next year,’’ Gill said.
‘‘It is a fantastic initiative to get people involved in sport and to get the local Indian and Punjabi communities together.
‘‘We also have a few outsiders come over and watch which was great to see.’’
The event could not go ahead without the countless volunteers and the supporters, which Gill recognised.
‘‘Both the Tatura and Shepparton soccer clubs volunteered their time with referees.
‘‘The local community and everyone who helped, it meant a lot to us,’’ Gill said.