World in One City 2024 football tournament returns to Liverpool


The World In One City Football tournament returns for its fourth year next week.

Imad Ali started the (WIOC) World in One City Tournament in 2021 due to his love and passion for football. The WIOC is a community-led, international football tournament that attracts hundreds of local amateur players with multi-ethnic heritage from around the world.

Last years winners, the West Indies, begin their campaign to defend their title against Brazil next week. Three nations have qualified for the first time this year; Albania, Ireland, and Namibia who will compete for the crown of WIOC 2024 Champions, alongside; Bangladesh, Brazil, Congo, England, Guinea Bissau, Jamaica, Libya, Nigeria, Rest of the World, Somali Team, reigning champions West Indies, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

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Imad, from Toxteth, said: "I'm incredibly proud to see even more communities get in touch this year wanting to be involved after the success of last year’s tournament. We held some thrilling pre-qualifying matches earlier in the year and I would like to thank everyone who took part.

"We also want to celebrate those nations who formed teams for the very first time, but sadly didn’t qualify. I'm sure we will continue to welcome more teams and players into the tournament in future.

The 16 qualifying teams for WIOC 2024 (Back L-R) Congo, Namibia, Jamaica, ROTW, Bangladesh, England, Brazil, Libya, Somali Team, Albania (Front L- R) Nigeria, Yemen, Guinea-Bissau, Zimbabwe, West Indies, Ireland (Image: WIOC)
The 16 qualifying teams for WIOC 2024 (Back L-R) Congo, Namibia, Jamaica, ROTW, Bangladesh, England, Brazil, Libya, Somali Team, Albania (Front L- R) Nigeria, Yemen, Guinea-Bissau, Zimbabwe, West Indies, Ireland (Image: WIOC) -Credit:WIOC

“It gives me great pride to see how many diverse and proud communities from across the Liverpool City Region want to come together through the WIOC to embrace their football passions, showcase their cultural diversity, unique identities and positive community spirit".

The tournament will again be held at Leisure United, Jericho Lane in Otterspool Drive. The first match kicks off at 7pm on Monday June 3 and the final is set for Sunday June 30 at 2pm.

Excitement is building to see who will be champions, joining previous winners Nigeria, England and 2023's champions, the West Indies. The annual event is organised and led by a team of local volunteers who've been involved in community football for many years. The WIOC forms part of an all-year-round initiative called ‘The Establishment’, which organises weekly football activities for hundreds of local amateur footballers who come together through a shared love of sport and to build long-lasting friendships.

Curtis Lopez, manager of the West Indies said: "To our players this tournament means a lot. Some lads in our team are second or third generation West Indian, so for us and our communities it makes them proud.

West Indies the 2023 WIOC winners celebrate with family members (Image: Glen O’Connell WIOC)
West Indies the 2023 WIOC winners celebrate with family members (Image: Glen OConnell WIOC) -Credit:Glen O’Connell WIOC

“We also have Guyanese, St Lucian and Trinidad & Tobago internationals who have represented their countries in Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football tournaments and still turn up to this tournament and treat it with respect. That helps our team togetherness and the lads all feel the same sense of pride.”

Jamaica's manager Errol Smith said: "WIOC has given me the opportunity to work with a talented, dedicated and passionate group of lads. They're a number of new faces desperate to represent Jamaica and I'm proud to say the lads within our group are all a credit to their families and our community.

"Despite being a young side we aren't just here to make up numbers, we all share the same goal which is to win as many games as possible and make this a special summer for all those involved".

Squad member Josh Quarless said: "I'm really looking forward to playing for England this year. I was a spectator at previous events and really wanted to be part of it, so it will be a great honour to represent the nation this year.

"I know how exciting the tournament is and what it means to play in it, and our whole team is looking forward to working together to create new memories at this year’s event”.

Fans cheerleading the action of WIOC 2023 (Image: Glen O'Connell WIOC)
Fans cheerleading the action of WIOC 2023 (Image: Glen O'Connell WIOC) -Credit:Glen O'Connell WIOC

Spectator entry for all games is free, and attendance is expected to be even bigger this year and who will be the most passionate fans? Past tournaments saw the Somali and Yemeni teams challenging for whose fans bring the most vibrancy, passion and noise to the game.

Yemen team manager Tarik Alawi said: "The WIOC is a fantastic football tournament that's growing year on year. Yemen has taken part in all four tournaments since it began.

"Last year we got to the final and went out on penalties after drawing the match 1-1. This year we hope to go one step further and win, Inshallah," (meaning if God wills or God willing)

Player Romeo Kenamuinjo of tournament newcomers, Namibia, said: "It's really exciting to be part of a team joining for the first time. Our squad is looking forward to making many new friendships we know will last a long time.

"We're excited to see our nation’s colours worn with pride and know our families and friends will be incredibly proud when we step out onto the pitch".

For information visit WIOC HERE

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