18 Mar 2019

Sport: Oceania football mourns death of NZ futsal rep in Christchurch mosque attacks

1:00 pm on 18 March 2019

The Oceania football community is mourning the death of New Zealand international futsal goalkeeper Atta Elayyan.

Atta Elayyan.

Atta Elayyan. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 33-year-old Futsal White, who played 19 A internationals, was one of the victims of Friday's terror attacks in Christchurch.

Elayyan was praying at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque next to Hagley Park when he was shot. He has been confirmed by his family to be among the 50 people killed in Christchurch.

New Zealand Football Chief Executive Andrew Pragnell said it was a sad day for New Zealand and they were thinking about the Mainland football and futsal community and, most importantly, Elayyan's family.

"It is still hard to comprehend what happened in Christchurch on Friday afternoon," he said.

"On behalf of everyone at New Zealand Football our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who has been affected by these heinous acts of violence. My heart goes out to the futsal community.

"They are a very tight-knit group and this news of Atta's death will be devastating for all involved in the game. We feel their pain and their grief."

The Futsal Development Manager at New Zealand Football, Josh Margetts, was a team-mate of Elayyan in the Futsal Whites and was devastated to hear the news.

"Atta was a great man and well-liked by everyone in the Futsal Whites squad and the futsal community," said Margetts.

"There are no words to sum up how we are all feeling. There is huge hole in our hearts as we come to terms with the loss of a great person and a good mate.

"He will be sorely missed. To Atta's family, we are deeply sorry for your loss. We can't imagine what you are going through, but please know we love you and we are here for you during this incredibly difficult time."

Oceania Football Confederation General Secretary Franck Castillo said the attack was a tragedy of the highest order.

"Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this devastating act of violence, and especially to the family and friends of Atta," he said.

"The staff at OFC who had the fortune of crossing paths with him have spoken of an unbridled passion for futsal and for representing New Zealand.

"He will be sorely missed by so many, as is already so evident in the many messages of condolences from across the world."

The Kuwait-born Elayyan leaves behind his wife Farah and young daughter Ay.

NZ keeper Atta Elayyan makes a save during a futsal international against Malaysia in 2013.

NZ keeper Atta Elayyan makes a save during a futsal international against Malaysia in 2013. Photo: OFC via Phototek