Almost every corner of the world was represented at the Interkultura football tournament in Ballarat on Saturday, an event designed to help asylum seekers and refugees re-settle in Australia.
Nationalities represented included South Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, all bound by a love for the beautiful game.
Kodjo Lunorphare Folly captained the Ballarat African Association team and said the aim was "to connect more of the African youth in Ballarat, to get them together to do something they love."
"The tournament is amazing. It gives the team a platform and lets them meet new communities and culture and hopefully they will make new friendships from that as well and benefit the community in general."
Ballarat African Association president Dr Michael Akindeju agreed, saying the tournament's impact was much broader "than just on the pitch", and helped many gain transferrable skills.
Craig Foster, the former Australian international, has become a patron for the event, a collaboration between the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council and Ballarat City Football Club.
He spoke at a dinner in Civic Hall before the game and came along to the first stages of the tournament.
"Sport is so powerful," Mr Foster told The Courier. "I am aware of the issue of re-settlement, and understand the importance of the game as a vehicle for cohesion and integration..
"It has been an absolute delight to come and meet the Interkultura teams. It was great to see the smiles on the faces and everyone playing the game they love."
Also at the event was the former Matildas international Tal Karp, who was there to help run a skills clinic for young girls.
Ms Karp said she was hoping to increase the involvement of women.
"I think it's really important we do that," she said.
"And that we recognise the barriers faced by girls in different intercultural communities. Football can be as much a vehicle for them as it can be for boys and men."
"When I was growing up, I wasn't allowed to play football. I am hearing stories of similar kinds now in certain communities. Football is such a great way to keep people active, make friends. [Next time] I want to see 150 men and 150 women play, that would be beautiful."
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