Mike Cockerill Cup returns


The annual Mike Cockerill Cup took place on Sunday 18th September at the Brazilian fields, Centennial Park.

The fourth running of the cup was this year hosted by the Sydney Brazilian social club and Canarinhos headed up by Gel Freire, Daniel Farias and Chico Necchi.

The Mike Cockerill Cup this year combined with the Canarinhos Independence cup which was celebrating 200 years of Brazilian independence as Jorge Kadri from the Brazilian Sydney Consulate attended.

The bringing together of different cultures and communities was a hallmark of the late Mike Cockerill’s life and involvement within the Australian football community both through his work as a journalist for Fairfax newspapers and commentary for Fox Sports.

The Mike Cockerill Cup was born out of the sad passing of Cockerill in 2017 with close cohorts Lou Dulisse and Romano Bit creating a day which would remember the incredible legacy that Cockerill left behind as well as celebrating and embracing cultural diversity through the common language of Football.

The impact of COVID had disrupted the running of the annual event but a return this year saw many of Cockerill’s closets friends and family including Cockerill’s wife Jo and son Toby as well as brother Ian gathering to pay tribute and remember the life of Mike once again.

The day got underway with a powerful welcome to country by Romano Bit who acknowledged the traditional custodians of the land, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation.  The Mike Cockerill Cup this year was contested between Mike’s mates taking on Mike’s Brazilian Friends (Canarinhos). The playing kits were provided by Legea with the match ball supplied by Markka as the generous support from sponsors and media entities including SBS radio and podcast, ‘Behind the Lights’, were once again on show. The match was played in a good spirit and included NSL legend Zlatko Nastevski as well as ex-Marconi and football media pundit Andy Harper.

The Brazilians proved a little to classy on the day as they ran out 4-1 winners in a match which provided plenty of highlights despite the age of many of the participants. At the conclusion of the match a presentation followed where Jo spoke of the importance of the day and how much it meant to her to see the positive impact Cockerill’s spirit continues to have on football and the wider community.

Andy Harper also spoke of the critical importance the Brazilian community played in Cockerill’s life which was symbolised by the cup being played at the Brazilian fields. During his life Cockerill would often come down on a Sunday afternoon and participate in community football at the Brazilian fields highlighting Cockerill’s deep passion for both football and the positive impact it can have on connecting people.

The presentation was followed by what many might say to be the highlight of the day the Brazilian BBQ as people bonded through their love of food and football. The Canarinhos Independence cup then took centre stage which included representation from a Brazilian and Mosaic refugee team as the fusion of community, football and food continued to be celebrated and appreciated by all participants.

The Mike Cockerill Cup again showcased the important role sport, and, in this case, football can play in bringing people and communities together. Mike Cockerill epitomised the importance of football and community during his life and through the Mike Cockerill Cup his ever-generous spirit continues to live on and inspire the next generation.

-By Sebastian Kalos