FOOTBALL Federation Australia (FFA) announced on Friday Callala Bay's Ben Atkins and his Pararoos, Australia's senior men's national football team for athletes with cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, or symptoms acquired from stroke, will play their first match on home soil since the 2000 Paralympic Games this month.
On Saturday, November 30 at Cromer Park - the home of Manly-Warringah Football Association (MWFA) and Manly United FC - the Pararoos will take on Canada in an international friendly that has been made possible thanks to support received from the FIFA Forward 2.0 Football Development Programme.
FIFA Forward 2.0 helps fund and support initiatives pursued by its member associations, and FIFA's six confederations, that enable football to reach its potential so that everyone that wants to take part in the world game can do so without barriers.
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FFA has received FIFA Forward 2.0 funding not only to bring the Pararoos' home match to life, but to support training camps for the team in 2020 which will assist Australia's preparations for the IFCPF Nations Championships to be held in Sant Cugat, Spain next June.
"Our players are absolutely thrilled with the news that they will have the chance to represent Australia in Australia this month," Pararoos coach Kai Lammert said.
"Aside from two players - Chris Pyne and David Barber - none of our current squad members have had the opportunity to play in front of their family and friends on home soil before, so this truly is a fantastic opportunity for our boys."
"Many of our squad members weren't even born when the Pararoos last played in Australia, so this will be a really unique event that celebrates our players as the elite CP footballers that they are, but also highlights FFA's focus on diversity and inclusion."
FFA chief executive officer, David Gallop AM, acknowledged FIFA and MWFA for their support of the match.
"FIFA and MWFA have worked collaboratively with FFA on this initiative and we acknowledge their support in backing the Pararoos and the development of CP football in Australia," Gallop said.
"Thanks to the support and efforts of many, 100 per cent of ticket sales from the match will be invested into the Pararoos, helping to ensure that there are continued opportunities for the squad.
"We're sure a great crowd will turn out for this match which will feature the 10th ranked team in the world, Australia, up against Canada, who are 11th."
Pararoos captain David Barber, who is likely to make his 100th appearance for the Pararoos against Canada, described the fixture as a dream come true.
"It has been so long since we played on home soil, it is going to mean the world," Barber said.
"For me personally it is something that I have been dreaming about for a really long time."
"If you are a fan of football, a fan of good football, then that is what this team is all about.
"Just because we have a disability doesn't change the fact that we play amazing football.
"We are going to be playing against a world class opponent in our own backyard, and if you are a fan of football and want to get out and support the green and gold then this is your chance to do it.
"It is going to be a great day at a great venue, and I cannot wait to play."
Kick-off will be at 5.30pm (AEDT) on November 30.