NZ footballer confirmed dead in Christchurch terror attacks
Agencies: New Zealand Football has confirmed that national Futsal player Atta Elayyan was one of the victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch.
The 33-year-old goalkeeper played 19 Internationals for the Futsal Whites.
He has been confirmed by his family to be one of the 50 people killed.
Atta Elayyan was praying at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque next to Hagley Park when he was shot.
The Kuwait-born Elayyan, who was a respected member of the Christchurch tech industry, leaves behind his wife Farah and his young daughter Aya.
New Zealand Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell said his thoughts were with Elayyan’s family and the Mainland football community.
“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.”
Josh Margetts, the Futsal Development Manager at New Zealand Football, was a team-mate of Elayyan in the Futsal Whites and was devastated to hear the news.
“Atta was a great man and well-liked by everyone in the Futsal Whites squad and the futsal community,” said Margetts. “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.”
Julian Bowden, the Chief Executive of Mainland Football, said it was an incredibly sad day for the federation.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to Atta’s family in their time of grieving,” said Bowden. “We grieve with you. Atta was a popular member of the Canterbury United family and we are all in a state of shock with this news. On behalf of everyone at Mainland Football, we reiterate what many have said that Friday’s attack is not our New Zealand.”
There will be a moment of recognition for Atta Elayyan in today’s match between the Wellington Phoenix and Western Sydney Wanderers at Westpac Stadium.
He worked on a big project for Ports of Auckland and spokesman Matt Ball says he was “the best of men. Like a young Steve Jobs, but nice”.
He was also named as one of the top 100 transformative technology leaders in New Zealand.