NZ ready to welcome Filipinas for FIFA WWC

MANILA – New Zealand is ready to show its hospitality once the Philippine women’s football team arrives there in July for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

New Zealand Ambassador Peter Kell said the Filipinas should brace for the warm welcome of the Kiwis once they step foot in the said country for the said tournament running from July 10 to Aug. 20.

“Expect what we call ‘manaakitanga,’ which means hospitality. Expect a hot welcome from all New Zealanders while you’re in New Zealand and take the chance to experience what New Zealand has to offer,” Kell said during the Philippine stop of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy Tour in Makati City on Wednesday.

The championship trophy was first unveiled to a select media group and various personalities in a special event organized by the New Zealand and Australian embassies at Fairmont Makati before it was made available for public viewing at the Glorietta Activity Center with no less than the Filipinas in attendance.

Kell added that the Filipino reporters and tourists who would come to New Zealand for the Filipinas’ campaign should expect warm hospitality in all the cities in New Zealand, not just in Wellington, Auckland and Dunedin, where the Philippine team will play its matches.

He also said that he is expecting at least some of the approximately 80,000 Filipinos currently residing in New Zealand to go and see the Filipinas in action.

The “main event,” though, is when the Filipinas battle the Ferns in Wellington on July 25.

“I’ll be rooting for both teams,” Kell said.

Regarding the New Zealand Embassy’s role in giving the Filipinas a safe flight down under, Kell said the embassy is working hand-in-hand with the Philippine Football Federation.

“We’re working through that. It really all depends on the team’s needs. At the end of the day, they’re there to do their job, and that is to play to the best of their ability, so we are working with the Philippine Football Federation to understand how we can support them once we know what their needs are and they’re taken care of. And then we will look to see what we can do to make them feel as welcome as possible in New Zealand,” Kell said. (PNA)