An emotional tribute from the Australian coach
Wellington Phoenix claimed a 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday but coach Mark Rudan was quick to stress the match was secondary to a recent terror attack in Christchurch.
Fifty people lost their lives after a lone gunman opened fire on two mosques in the New Zealand city on Friday with an emotional minute’s silence held before Wellington’s game.
Phoenix striker Roy Krishna opened the scoring at Westpac Stadium and celebrated with a touching gesture.
After the match, Rudan dedicated the win to the victims of the attack and admitted the event had put football very much in to perspective.
“I’m not going to talk really much about the game I’ll be honest with you,” Rudan said.
“Because I thought it was the second most important thing. The most important thing is what happened a couple of days ago. It’s shaken everybody up at the club. It’s shaken up me and my players.
“This world doesn’t deserve something like that. It’s tough to talk about, it’s quite emotional. I’ve grown very attached to not just Wellington but New Zealand and it’s made worldwide headlines. A lot of people were asking questions, I’ve got a lot of Muslim friends, it’s just so sad. It’s hard to put into words.
“Like I said tonight’s performance is dedicated to the victims and their families, bless their souls, it’s just not what life should be about.
“All we could do is play a small part, and like I said, it’s just a game of football. You win, you lose, it’s irrelevant if things like this happen. It was important that we played our part and that was for the victims and their families and the whole country. Because the whole country’s mourning.”
On Saturday night, Kiwi forward Kosta Barbarouses also paid tribute to the victims after he scored for Melbourne Victory.