Melbourne: The Kshatriya Society of Melbourne Australia (KSMA), a small Gujarati Kshatriya community of 200, put up a soccer tournament over Easter (March 25-28) in Doncaster East. Although a soccer event, it was a family-oriented occasion re-connecting people who have dispersed across Australasia but can still trace their origins to five villages in Gujarat.
About 1100 attended the four-day event with eight teams plus four veteran teams participating with the event culminating in a Gala Dinner on the last dayThere were two competitions. The main competition had eight teams – Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, Ba, Nadi, Lautoka and Suva. The Cup went to Auckland who defeated Ba in an exciting extra time then penalty shootout.
The second competition featuring veterans over 40 years of age had four teams comprising over 40s – Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland and International (a mix of players from all over). This was won by Brisbane defeating hosts Melbourne. Much to the excitement of the crowd, it was another hard fought match determined by penalty shootout.
The tournament which is known as Kshatriya World Cup Soccer started in its current Australasian format in 2000. This event brings all Gujarati Kshatriyas together. Over 900 people travelled from interstate and countries such as Fiji and New Zealand to attend and take part in the event.
“The standard of play has improved from the previous event in Suva in 2013,” says Ranjit Ratilal, key member of the KSMA.
Melbourne hosting committee wanted to make the event a Melbourne experience and served a variety of food during the four-day event at the grounds.
Many Kshatriya Melburnian community members volunteered their time and effort to make their guests feel welcome with food, performances and warm hospita
lity. As no Indian event can be organised without food, over the four day spectacular, 3000 plates of lunch were served incorporating a fusion of Greek, Indian and Asian flavours (the ultimate Melbourne food experience). Further, to assist those adapting to the cool changes in Melbourne’s unpredictable weather during the four-day competition, 3000 cups of masala tea were served.
Visitors from interstate and overseas who attended the event have lavishly praised the Host Committee and the wider KSMA community for an exceptionally well organised event which delivered a great Melbourne experience. “KSMA as a small community has done a fantastic job in hosting the World Cup, they have helped bring the Kshatriya Gujaratis together and bond over the 4 days” remarked a spectator.
The four- day event came to a close on Monday night with a Gala Dinner where trophies were presented and sponsors were recognised and thanked. (TIW)