Asian Cup football frenzy a huge boost for Cessnock

EXCITED: Hunter Valley Hawks players accompanied the Japan and Auckland City teams onto the field before Sunday’s match.
EXCITED: Hunter Valley Hawks players accompanied the Japan and Auckland City teams onto the field before Sunday’s match.

More than 3000 fans of the round-ball code packed Cessnock Sportsground on Sunday for a football spectacular that many of them would call a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Cessnock.

The Japanese national team, who are based in Cessnock this week for their Asian Cup pre-competition camp, took on New Zealand’s Auckland City FC in a charity match that raised funds for youth mental health in Cessnock.

A large crowd of Samurai Blue fans lined up to greet the team as they arrived, and went home happy with a 2-0 win, with many sticking around for another chance to snap a photo of their footballing heroes.

WELCOME: Cessnock Mayor, Cr. Bob Pynsent and Acting Consulate-General of Japan, Mr. Katsutoshi Miyakawa greet the Japanese team before the game on Sunday.

WELCOME: Cessnock Mayor, Cr. Bob Pynsent and Acting Consulate-General of Japan, Mr. Katsutoshi Miyakawa greet the Japanese team before the game on Sunday.

Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent said the game – which drew fans from far and wide – was a brilliant event for the city.

“I’ve never experienced anything like it in Cessnock,” he said.

“Everything about the event has been so positive – it makes us so proud.

“Both teams loved our facilities.”

Cr. Pynsent said the exposure that Cessnock will receive in Asia and New Zealand will hopefully result in increased tourism for the city.

See more photos from the game here.

CROWD-PLEASER: Japanese star Keisuke Honda in action at Cessnock Sportsground on Sunday. Photo by Rachelle Corcoran, RPM Images.

CROWD-PLEASER: Japanese star Keisuke Honda in action at Cessnock Sportsground on Sunday. Photo by Rachelle Corcoran, RPM Images.

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