Rivalry pushed aside for good cause

After a 2020 event that saw just under 600 kilograms of canned goods donated to the Mount Gambier FoodBank branch, International Soccer Club and Gambier Centrals Football Club are back in 2021 for another food drive.

When the two clubs collide in matches between their junior and senior sides on Sunday at Italo Australian Club, spectators will be encouraged to donate canned goods as part of a food drive off the back of a successful community event between them last year.

The amount raised by both teams created the equivalent of 1187 meals.

International SC sports director Michael Prior said the Foodbank food drive returned in 2021 in a bid to inspire football clubs to support local by giving back to the local community.

 When asked how he felt about hosting the fundraiser, Prior said it was a  fantastic opportunity to give back to the community.

“We wanted to support local and the fact Foodbank is giving the food  directly to the families in our community is what we should be supporting,”  he said.

“People do not realise unless they speak to Foodbank how many people depend on that charity to get through the day.”  In the Steeline Limestone Coast Football Association, there is no greater rivalry than that between International and Gambier Centrals, but both teams will put rivalries aside-at least until they step onto the field  – when they join forces to raise much-needed donations for the charity.

 “When you step over the white line, it’s two teams competing for the win-but when you’re not on the pitch, we should all be doing everything we can to help our community when we can,” Mr Prior said.

With community donations going to people in need of food relief in the region, Gambier Centrals president Shane Dycer told The SE Voice he expected both clubs to get behind the event.

“What we’d like to see happen between clubs is that we work together off the field and make the community a better place to make the  sport as strong as it can be and help each other out wherever possible off the ground,” Mr Dycer said.

“Of course when that whistle goes when we’re on the park we’ll do our best to defeat each other, but when everything is said and done we all live in this community and we want to ensure there’s a lot of mutual respect between the clubs and all the players.

“Wherever someone needs help, if we can help and work together  then that’s something that needs to happen.” Mr Dycer added that thanks to a donation of tonnes of building fill from International major sponsor Vince Versace, Gambier Centrals would be able to start new works at its ground.

Mr Versace is the major sponsor of the Foodbank drive occurring at Italo Australian Club, a Foodbank regional ambassador and a major catalyst for starting the event between both clubs.

Mr Vesace told The SE Voice even if people were not attending the match between International and Gambier Centrals donations could still be made to Foodbank at the drive occurring all day Sunday.

“It’s not just about the football,” he said.

“It’s about being involved in giving something back to your community and it feels good.” Mr Versace added he hoped this Sunday’s food drive sees more food donated than last year.

“We’d like to think that we can build on that.

We’re going to have the Foodbank food drive at the front gate of Italo Australian Club so that people can come in and drop off whatever they can,” he said.

“Whatever they can donate, it’ll be much appreciated.”

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