The Sydney Rangers soccer team will defend their Justin Fashanu Cup title in Sydney on Saturday, October 2.

The cup, now in its second year, is an annual match between the Rangers and Australia’s only other gay male soccer team, the Melbourne Rovers.

Sydney Rangers coach Joseph Roppolo spoke of the spirit of the occasion by “remembering the life and courage of Justin Fashanu, the only professional soccer player in the world to ever come out as an openly gay man and then tragically take his own life 18 months later”.

“For the first time ever, Sydney has two teams to draw talent from so we go into this match with a lot of confidence and self-belief,” Roppolo told Sydney Star Observer.

“We are expecting a tough match from Melbourne who finished another successful winter season, so this should be a great spectacle for gay football.”

Last year’s match in Melbourne was a classic encounter played for the first time between established gay world cup bronze and silver medallists, Sydney, and new kids on the block, Melbourne.

After a full 90 minutes neither side was able to break the deadlock with the game going to a nail-biting penalty shoot-out.

Sydney showed nerves of steel to win 4-2 and cap off a memorable weekend by bringing the Justin Fashanu Cup home.

“This next chapter promises to be equally exciting with St George Soccer Stadium, Banksia (also known as Barton Park) secured as the venue,” Roppolo said.

“With a 2500-seat grandstand and canteen facilities available, both teams are encouraging soccer fans to show their support.”

Gates open at 1.30pm and the game kicks off at 2.30pm. If the game is tied at the end of the match it will go straight to a penalty shoot-out to decide the winner.

info: The Justin Fashanu Cup will be held at St George Soccer Stadium, 88 Bestic St, Banksia, on Saturday, October 2 from 1.30pm. For more info on the Rangers, visit www.sydneyrangersfc.com.au or email sydneyrangersfc@hotmail.com
Photo: Travis de Jonk

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