New Zealand Football (NZF) have confirmed the country’s futsal national team player Atta Elayyan was among the victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch on Friday.
Elayyan, 33, had made 19 International appearances as a goalkeeper for the Futsal Whites and turned out for Mainland Futsal at domestic level.
The Kuwait-born goalkeeper was praying at Masjid Al Noor Mosque, next to Hagley Park, where he was among 50 victims of the shooting.
“It is still hard to comprehend what happened in Christchurch on Friday afternoon,”
NZF chief executive Andrew Pragnell said in a statement. “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.”
Elayyan’s Futsal White teammate Josh Margetts offered support to the deceased player’s family while remembering a ‘great man’ who will be ‘sorely missed’.
“Atta was a great man and well-liked by everyone in the Futsal Whites squad and the futsal community,”
Margetts said, who is also a Futsal Development Manager at Football New Zealand. “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.”