Artist lends hands to Croatian soccer comp

World renowned artist Charles Billich and Western Sydney Wanderers striker Brendon Santalab were among the guests helping to launch the 40th annual Australian and New Zealand Croatian Soccer Tournament on Monday.

Hosted by the South Coast United football club with the help of the Folkloric dance group and Croatian Church, the tournament is expected to involve more than 1000 players.

The tournament will celebrate the 30th anniversaries of both United and the church and the 40th for Fokloric.

Competition will run from October 2 to 5.

"We are a community club and something like this really brings people together and gets people involved," South Coast United captain Greg Valic said.

"There are people who I haven't seen at the soccer in a long, long time but they are starting to come this year just because this big thing is on.

"Let's all get together and help each other out and have a good year. That is the kind of buzz that is happening and it is great."

Valic added that the fever of the tournament has already started to take the community by storm, six months out from the kick off.

"This is crazy and very full on. It is a great mood and a great buzz," Valic said.

"Even at the two games we have had this year, we have had great support at home. We have had heaps of people there and everyone is really positive about it."

Monday's launch also saw the unveiling of the tournament's official painting from artist Billich.

The painter has become renowned for his works on sporting events.

"I was very happy to accept the challenge of painting this commemorative painting," Billich said.

"I regard it as a little bit more global [than just a community event]. I regard it as like a mini World Cup."

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