One of the victims of the Christchurch mosque shooting has been identified as New Zealand futsal international Atta Elayyan.
Elayyan, 33, was goalkeeper for the national futsal side, as well as Canterbury men’s side, and represented his country 19 times.
The Palestinian man, born in Kuwait, had recently become a father.
New Zealand football paid tribute to Elayyan on Sunday.
“Elayyan was praying at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque next to Hagley Park when he was shot,” a statement said.
“He has been confirmed by his family to be in the 50 people killed in Christchurch.”
New Zealand Football Chief Executive Andrew Pragnell said it was a sad day for all of New Zealand.
“It is still hard to comprehend what happened in Christchurch on Friday afternoon,” Pragnell said.
“On behalf of everyone at New Zealand Football our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who has been affected by these heinous acts of violence.
“My heart goes out to the futsal community.
“They are a very tight-knit group and this news of Atta’s death will be devastating for all involved in the game. We feel their pain and their grief.”
New Zealand Futsal Development Manager Josh Margetts, a teammate of Elayyan in the Futsal Whites, was devastated.
“Atta was a great man and well-liked by everyone in the Futsal Whites squad and the futsal community,” said Margetts.
“There are no words to sum up how we are all feeling.
“There is huge hole in our hearts as we come to terms with the loss of a great person and a good mate. He will be sorely missed.
“To Atta’s family, we are deeply sorry for your loss. We can’t imagine what you are going through, but please know we love you and we are here for you during this incredibly difficult time.”