Wellington coach pays emotional tribute to Christchurch victims
Mark Rudan paid an emotional tribute to victims of the Christchurch terror attacks after Wellington Phoenix’s 3-1 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers at the weekend.
Phoenix bolstered their bid for the Hyundai A-League top six with a dominant showing in the New Zealand capital on Sunday afternoon.
But, as the 43-year-old Wellington boss echoed in a heartfelt post-match press conference, the football paled into insignificance amid the tragic events of last Friday.
“I’m not going to talk really much about the game,” Rudan said.
“Because I thought it was the second most important thing. The most important thing is what happened a couple of days ago.
“It’s shaken everybody up at the club. It’s shaken up me and my players.
“It’s not what this country’s about. It’s a great country this place. It’s opened its arms to so many different people, races and religions and you’ve got a fantastic prime minister as well by the way.
It’s just sad. This country doesn’t deserve it.
“All we could do is play a small part, and like I said, it’s just a game of football. You win, you lose, it’s irrelevant if things like this happen.
“It was important that we played our part and that was for the victims and their families and the whole country. Because the whole country’s mourning.”
Inaugural Sydney FC captain Rudan has been a revelation for Wellington since his May appointment, with fourth-placed Phoenix primed for their highest league finish since 2014/15.
“I’ve grown very attached to not just Wellington but New Zealand and it’s made worldwide headlines.
“A lot of people were asking questions, I’ve got a lot of Muslim friends, it’s just so sad. It’s hard to put into words. Like I said tonight’s performance is dedicated to the victims and their families, bless their souls, it’s just not what life should be about.”
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