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Historic milestone for Aitutaki

Youthful and vibrant young Aitutakians welcomed dignitaries accompanied by thunderous drum beats to join in the celebrations.
From traditional leaders and political dignitaries including the country’s Prime Minister, to young football enthusiasts and invited guests, everyone came out for the festivities and bathed in the natural brilliance of the paradise-like surroundings.
The formalities commenced in the customary manner with an opening prayer and a welcome speech by the Aitutaki Football Association President Mr. Tiraa Arere.
Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) President Lee Harmon welcomed the distinguished guests in a stirring speech saying that the inauguration was a historic occasion for the people of Aitutaki and football in particular.
“This complex will be the focal point of educating coaches, referees, players and administrators in conducting their various duties. Aitutaki was selected as the project recipient for several reasons being the second largest populated island and for being well structured and organized association,” says Harmon.
“This is the start of bigger things to come for football on the island of Aitutaki. It is important to implement the second goal project to compliment what has been established here today.”
“I would like to urge the Aitutaki Football Association Executives and those involved in the fame of football on our small island, to look after this complex as it will be the backbone for some of our youth in the future.”
“A special thank you to Zecharia Williams, your team and Project Manager Romani Katoa for the construction and delivery of this project.”
President Harmon expressed his sincere appreciation to FIFA through FIFA Vice President, Mr. David Chung for their financial assistance and support.
“On behalf of the Cook Islands Football Association, Executive Committee and members, thank you for accepting our application for the funds to construct this facility. Convey our sincere appreciation to FIFA for the financial assistance towards this project.”
David Chung, FIFA Vice President and OFC President opened his address by expressing his impression of the overwhelming traditional welcome for him onto one of the Cook Islands idyllic islands for the occasion of the inauguration of Aitutaki’s FA Headquarters & Education Centre.
“Today is a milestone for Aitutaki Football and for Cook Islands Football as a whole. It is my sincere pleasure to represent FIFA and Oceania Football FC to officially open this excellent facility which will be of significant benefit for the administration and development of football on Aitutaki particularly in grassroots and in our youth,” says Chung.
“I wish to acknowledge the vision and commitment of CIFA President Mr. Lee Harmon to develop football in the Cook Islands to the highest possible level. Under Harmon’s Presidency, Cook Islands Football has taken optimum opportunities and benefit from development programs and activities of both FIFA and OFC for the past thirteen years,” he says.
“This facility also represents a unique milestone for sports on the island with Aitutaki Football being the first sporting code to have their very own office facility.”
“I wish all those involved in football on Aitutaki to enjoy the facility and to make best use of the additional facilities that will be provided in the future. I hope that this facility will create future football stars one day and assist Cook Islands Football to be a competitive nation within the Oceania region. Congratulations,” Chung said.
Then followed was the unveiling of the Aitutaki HQ signage by the Prime Minister Hon. Henry Puna, the cutting of the ceremonial rauti leaves to gain entry to the facility by landowner and Aitutaki FA President Tiraa Arere, the unveiling of the FIFA plaque by OFC President and FIFA Vice President Mr. David Chung.
The unlocking of the door to the administration block was unveiled by CIFA President Lee Harmon and deputy Mayor Poo Bishop unlocked the door to the Education Centre.
The facility was then open to the invited guests and public for viewing before the traditional feast was indulged to mark the end of a historic and joyful celebration for Aitutaki football.

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