TODAY |

'He was always willing to give' - NZ futsal community mourns goalkeeper killed in Christchurch terror attacks

The New Zealand futsal community has come together to remember Kiwi player Atta Elayyan, one of the 50 victims killed in last Friday's Christchurch terror attacks.

Elayyan played 19 A international games for the New Zealand Futsal Whites as a goalkeeper.

The 33-year-old was praying at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque by Hagley Park last Friday as the attack occurred.

His Futsal Whites teammate and fellow keeper Hamish Mitchell said Elayyan was a great mentor and friend.

"I could pick his brain all day and he wouldn't have a problem with that," Mitchell said. "He always gave me great advice before a game.

"Before I was about to go on, he would always pull me aside to see if I was OK. He was just a great man.

New Zealand keeper Atta Elayyan makes a save. OFC Futsal Championship Invitational 2013, Match Day Two, Malaysia v New Zealand, The Trusts Arena, Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday 24th July 2013. Photo: Shane Wenzlick
New Zealand keeper Atta Elayyan makes a save during the OFC Futsal Championship Invitational against Malaysia in Auckland. Source: Photosport

"I got a phone call when I found out the news. My world just came crashing down and I felt like I lost a part of me."

Elayyan played for the Canterbury United futsal team and was coaching the Christchurch Boys' High School futsal side for the secondary schools nationals in Wellington next week.

Canterbury United coach Ronan Naicker said Elayyan will be sorely missed in the New Zealand futsal community.

"He loved the sport and he was always willing to give his time and always willing to do better for New Zealand Futsal, for Canterbury United and the futsal community in Christchurch," Naicker said.

"When I saw him on Thursday he was with the boys at Christchurch Boys' High. It was like another conversation and he was just looking forward to taking them up next week to nationals." 

Elayyan's Futsal Whites teammate Elias Billeh said he was always a good roommate and that he will miss their conversations.

"It was always a pleasure travelling with Atta," he said. "As keepers, we always used to room with each other so we know each other pretty well.

"It's always good to be able to talk futsal, talk life and talk business outside of training and games."

Your playlist will load after this ad

Atta Elaayan played 19 matches for the national futsal team and coached the Christchurch Boys High team. Source: 1 NEWS


More From