New Zealand futsal team’s goalkeeper Atta Elayyan was one of the victims of the Christchurch shootings which killed around 50 people and injured as many at two mosques. On Friday, Australian Brenton Tarrant, opened fire with assault rifles during prayers in Christchurch killing 49 people. The death toll rose to 50 on Sunday after police found another victim at one of the mosques.
The 33-year old Elayyan, who has played 19 A internationals for the New Zealand Futsal Whites, was one of those killed in New Zealand’s deadliest attack. Kuwait-born Elayyan was praying at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque next to South Hagley Park on Friday when he was shot. He is survived by wife Farah and young daughter Aya.
In 2014, Elayyan was named New Zealand Football futsal player of the year, the same season Mainland Futsal, as they were then known, won the national men’s title.
Reactions poured in from across the football community, especially New Zealand futsal, New Zealand Football and Mainland Football representatives. National league players as well as futsal members, paid tribute to Elayyan on Sunday, laying flowers by the Deans Avenue mosque, where he was killed.
This is Atta Elayyan 33, Born in Kuwait, Elayyan, a goalkeeper, recently became a father and was a popular member of the Christchurch tech industry. He was a director and shareholder of a company called LWA Solutions.
His beautiful new born son now lives a life without him ?? pic.twitter.com/uYA0HSWE8L
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) 16 March 2019
Extraordinary post match presser. Absolutely raw emotion from Mark Rudan. Tears. “Those people didn’t deserve that. I didn’t really care much about the game tonight. It was about those people. Sorry, you’re not going to get too much football talk out of me tonight.” pic.twitter.com/bgyV99IZwZ
— Jason Pine (@pineyzb) 17 March 2019
Rest in peace Atta. We can’t understand the hate, but we do know the love of our futsal community and you won’t be forgotten.
Futsal people, our people pic.twitter.com/xuLfZKzlhz
— Futsalplanet.com (@futsalplanet97) 16 March 2019
QUOTE: @MainlandFooty CEO Julian Bowden on @attaelayyan. “Atta was a popular member of the Canterbury United family. We are in a state of shock with this news. On behalf of everyone at Mainland Football, we reiterate what many have said that this is not our New Zealand.” #RIPAtta pic.twitter.com/MIWNIIR8VN
— New Zealand Football (@NZ_Football) 17 March 2019
Tarrant has been charged with one count of murder. He entered no plea and was remanded in custody until April 5. He is expected to face further charges, police said.