|Number of teams||335 (2015)|
|Television broadcasters||Self-broadcast on YouTube|
The Kanga Cup is a week-long international youth association football tournament held annually in Canberra, Australia during July. The tournament is run as an open cup consisting of both male and female competitors with teams from diverse backgrounds including clubs, schools, associations and community groups coming together to compete in age groups ranging from U9s to U18s. The Cup is hosted by Capital Football and is sanctioned by Football Federation of Australia (FFA) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Since 2015 the tournament has been known as the NSR Kanga Cup for sponsorship reasons. The Kanga Cup is regarded as the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and is the most coveted prize in youth football in Australia.
In 2012, the Kanga Cup welcomed the first representative team from South America in the tournament's 22-year history as 16 players of Estrella Solitaria club from the small working-class town of Batuco, Chile made the long trip over to Canberra. Chilean Ambassador to Australia, Pedro Pablo Diaz, described the opportunity for these teenagers as an unbelievable trip of a lifetime and a chance for these kids to experience a different culture for the first time. He went on to say most of these kids were very poor and this was probably the first and last time they will get to travel internationally.
2013 saw funding cuts for the tournament from the ACT Tourism budget, with only $30,000 available compared to the previous year's budget of $60,000. However, despite the funding cut backs the Kanga Cup still recorded record numbers of participants and teams with 150 interstate teams and six international teams joining 92 local ACT sides. It was considered a particularly good year for local teams with fourteen making grand finals and six walking away with trophies.
One of the biggest surprises of the 2013 Kanga Cup was the grand final win for the visiting U18 Philippine national team, the Teen Azkals. Team manager, Alvin Carranza, brought the team to the Kanga Cup under the banner of Carranz FC to get the next generation of the Philippine national team international experience. The win gave the U18's their first championship title and was used a preparation for the team's participation in the ASEAN Football Federation championship in Indonesia in 2014.
2014 saw a shift in focus for the tournament with a new marketing strategy adopted to ensure the tournament grew from previous years. The 2014 edition of the Kanga Cup saw it coincide with the middle of the FIFA World Cup being held in Brazil. Previously this might have hurt numbers attending the Kanga Cup but the organizers broadcast the World Cup during the Kanga Cup to give the whole event a festival feel. Capital Football CEO Heather Reid, announced the 2014 edition of the cup as "the best ever", with a total of 274 teams having competed along with 144 referees, with 813 matches being played, and concluding with 29 grand finals played at Lyneham on the final day.
The Kanga Cup celebrated 25 years of existence in 2015 with record entries of teams, officials, volunteers and participants. More than 340 teams turned out between 3 and 8 July from as far away as South Korea, as the event drew 7,000 players and a total of over 10,000 people to the ACT. 2015 Kanga Cup tournament director Michael Kelly declared the tournament a success, with fine weather gracing the week-long tournament until grand final day when rain set in.
The 2015 opening ceremony of the Kanga Cup caused controversy with one of the sponsors organising cheerleaders for the event. The use of overly sexualised cheerleaders drew criticism from the public, with one witness writing to the editor of The Canberra Times to shame Capital Football for allowing such a performance to occur at a family event, likening the cheerleaders to those employed at National Rugby League (NRL) matches. ACT Minister for Sport and Recreation Shane Rattenbury followed up and echoed the views of the public by condemning the use of cheerleaders at an event of this nature. He suggested the use of freestyle footballers demonstrating tricks with a football would be a better fit and more enjoyable for the Kanga Cup audience of juniors and their families. Capital Football released a media statement apologising to those involved at the opening ceremony.
The tournament is run as an open cup consisting of both male and female competitors with teams from diverse backgrounds including clubs, schools, associations and community groups coming together to compete in age groups ranging from U9s to U18s. Age groups are broken up into three divisions based on skill level where elite teams can face off against each other and social teams can play each other and enjoy themselves.
The Kanga Cup provides an opportunity for participants to meet players from all over Australia as well as the world. Past international participants have included: Chile, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, England, East Timor, Fiji, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, People’s Republic of China, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the United States and others. Social and cultural exchange is encouraged between competitors throughout the tournament, with a wide range of social activities available for participants and officials making the tournament a “cultural festival of football”.
Many local clubs in the ACT participate on a regular basis including Belnorth FC, Belwest FC, Belsouth FC, Brindabella FC, Majura FC, Canberra FC, Gungahlin FC, Marist College SC, Monero Panthers FC, Radford College SC, St Edmund's College SC, Tuggeranong United JSC, Weston Creek FC and Woden Valley JSC.
The Kanga Cup attracts referees from local clubs, interstate associations and internationally. Currently there are connections with interstate bodies such as Football West, Football Brisbane, Football Victoria, Football NSW, Sutherland Shire Football Referee Association, Manly-Warringah Football Referee Association, Football Hervey Bay and Central Coast. In addition the Kanga Cup has connections with international organisations, including Auckland Football Federation (NZ) and Mainland Football (NZ). In past editions the Kanga Cup has attracted referees from as far abroad as England, Italy, South Korea, Hong Kong and America. To assist visiting and local referees for the tournament, Capital Football set up the Kanga Cup Referee Youth Academy (KCRYA). The KCRYA is a formalised camp endorsed by the FFA for Kanga Cup referees to participate in technical training during the week long tournament set-out by the FFA level three and four curriculum.
- Southwell Park, Lyneham (Kanga Cup HQ)
- Wanniassa Playing Fields
- Dickson Playing Fields
- Kaleen Playing Fields
- Harrison Playing Fields
- Mawson Playing Fields
- Hawker Playing Fields
Partners and sponsorship
Naming Right Partner: NSR Australia (National Scouting Report)
Merchandise Partner: Sports Centre (SC)
Photography Partner: Michael Thompson Photography
Official Match Ball Supplier: Nike - TSA (Team Sports Australasia)
Official Teamwear Supplier: Nike - This is Football
Mobile App: Team App
Other Minor Partners include: Barlens; Vivid; Dendy Cinemas; Powerkart Raceway, AIS, Guzman y Gomez
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