New Zealand's close-knit futsal and football community marched from English Park to Hagley Park in memory of one of the best goalkeepers they knew both on and off the field.

About 200 current and former players from the futsal community flew to Christchurch from Australia and around New Zealand to today mourn slain teammate and coach Atta Elayyan.

The Kuwait-born married father-of-one was at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque on Deans Ave in Christchurch on Friday afternoon when the gunman let fire during Friday prayers.

The 33-year-old tackled him to the ground while being shot at twice. His father was shot four times and is being treated at Christchurch Hospital.


Friend Dave Payne first met Atta working for New Zealand Football when they bonded over their love of futsal 10 years ago.

They formed part of a core group that helped make futsal the fastest growing sport in New Zealand, Payne said.

He was a talented goalkeeper playing 19 internationals for the Futsal Whites.

"He was one of those guys - you always say it's cliche, but it always happens to the best of people. He was 100 per cent one of those true Kiwis who would always give back. Although he played for New Zealand, he was always coaching kids' teams, he was an amazing goalkeeper and would always give up all his own time to train up all the other goalkeepers. To be fair he's probably single-handedly trained up best the goalkeepers in this country."

Payne said about 200 people from the futsal and football community met together at lunchtime on Sunday at Mainland Football Federation's headquarters in English Park before walking to Hagley Park to lay a signed football shirt in the memorial.

The football community had also lost three other players including a 16-year-old goal keeper who tackled the gunman to the ground before he was punched in the face and shot and they were remembered too, he said.

Police had also told him Elayyan was also one of three people who tried to stop the gunman.

"He got shot and then got back up again and got shot again and then got finished off. And that's the kind of guy he was... When he was playing for his country, he was the guy that when we were losing he just would never give up - that was the kind of guy he was."


Not only was Elayaan one of New Zealand's best futsal goal keepers, but he was also one of the country's best tech developers entrepreneurs and ran his own firm Christchurch-based LWA Solutions.

Payne said he was one of few people in the industry who could not only develop the technology, but also had good business and communication skills.

"He was someone who was amazing intelligent. He just had the number stuff - he was like an Einstein from that respect."

LWA Solutions confirmed Elayaan had died in the shootings, but declined to comment further.