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Voodoo weaves penalty magic to take top trophy

MORE than 140 soccer players representing a local league of nations battled out the O'Malley's "World Cup" on the weekend with the overall winner being fun and strong community bonding, Sam Riley reports. It took a thrilling penalty shootout to separate the two finalists in Shanghai's annual seven-a-side football "World Cup" run by O'Malleys Irish Pub last weekend.

More than 140 players from countries around the world competed in the tournament at a stadium in Jing'an District on Sunday.

Both amateur and more polished footballers from Shanghai's local league braved the searing heat to compete in the day-long competition.

Members of the 12 teams included both local and foreign players but it came down to a penalty saved by makeshift goalkeeper Noah Dzissah to take Voodoo FC to the title.

Voodoo FC player Danielle Uidam was the only female player in the tournament and won the prize for the "most notable player."

The Australian sports coach played on the right wing during the tournament and said she was a keen football player who turns out for the Voodoos and Galacticos teams during weekend local league games.

"Joining the local league was one of the first things I did when I came to Shanghai because I used to play a lot of soccer in Australia," she said.

"This tournament was very well organized and had a great spirit throughout the day."

O'Malley's assistant general manager and tournament organizer, Jeya Ibrahim, said the tournament had been improved since it was launched last year.

"It is really impressive how the event has grown since we staged it last year," Ibrahim said. "More than 80 percent of the teams were made up of players from last year but this year the standard of play was much higher. It was really amazing."

The rules and regulations for the tournament were organized by members of the local French team, "Etoile Rouge," who are sponsored in the local league also by O'Malley's.

Despite the hot weather conditions, Ibrahim said most players and supporters stayed to watch the final game.

Many also kicked on to O'Malley's for the presentation of prizes, medals and cups to the three leading teams.

O'Malley's provided water and food for players and their supporters throughout the day which started at 9am and finished at 6pm with the winners finally victorious.

O'Malleys also erected shade at the ground and sponsors Stella Artois and China Wine and Spirits ensured players had a stiffer drink later to soothe aching bodies.

Ibrahim said the event was part of regular community events that O'Malley's holds every year.

"The O'Malley's World Cup 2009 brings together expats and locals in Shanghai for a day of fun, community bonding and healthy-living," Ibrahim said.

"Even if it's only once a year, it's a step towards a more rounded lifestyle."

In keeping with the healthy lifestyle theme, Sino United Healthcare was also a sponsor of the event.


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