Players and officials of the United States and Myanmar U-20 World Cup teams were last night warmly welcomed on to a Whangarei marae ahead of their clash at Toll Stadium this weekend.
Community leaders, including Whangarei mayor Sheryl Mai, congregated at the Te Terenga Paraoa Marae on Porowini Ave for the official welcome.
Part of Porowini Ave, between the Poto St and Tarewa Rd junctions, was closed to traffic for the duration of the ceremony.
Representatives from both teams said it was an honour to play in a wonderful city such as Whangarei and thanked organisers for the ceremony.
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Mayor Sheryl Mai said the players and officials would be outstanding role models for football players, especially children, throughout Northland.
She said the players showed the heights that could be reached by combining talent with discipline, commitment, team spirit and hard work.
Ms Mai said the visiting players and support crews had put Whangarei and its sports' amenities on the national and international stage, including its new, world-class Koropupu Community Sports Park.