Red and black fever hits Parramatta

wassef chahine

* Wazza Cane

*Wazza Cane takes the definition of a die-hard Western Sydney Wanderers fan to an entirely new level.

The twenty year old has attended every home game of the A League football team, cheering with the ‘red and black bloc’ fan squad whilst sporting a stand out, signature look.

“I paint my entire body in the team’s colours black and red and wear my black afro wig,” he said.  “Many people come up and take a photo with me and I always get Hi-5s”.

Cane’s four-hour pre game preparation involves painting his body, rounding up his entourage of twelve close friends and then meeting other Wanderers fans at a set location for a mass march up to the stadium.

His enthusiasm has also sparked the interest of media outlets, with his face appearing on Fox Sports TV broadcasts and Youtube videos uploaded by other Wanderers fans.

Growing up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, Cane justifies his immense passion for this particular team being its locality and the sense of community it represents.  “It is so good for us to finally have a local team to follow.  I definitely consider the Wanderers a part of my extended family.”

So when the Parramatta City Council announced that it was holding a Western Sydney Wanderers street parade in Parramatta, it was no surprise that Cane was thrilled with the community initiative.

He said that the parade will allow the team to celebrate its achievements with the local community that has helped it get to where it is in its inaugural year.

A celebration of community indeed underpins the council’s agenda behind this event.  “The team together with their fans have played a crucial role in bringing people from all over Western Sydney together and our celebrations provide a great opportunity for our community to show their support”, said Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Cr John Chedid.

Whilst the fans are excited to meet their local sporting heroes, the Western Sydney Wanderers team appears to be equally enthusiastic to celebrate with its extended family of supporters.

“The parade will allow us to support the people who have supported us so well this year,” said Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson.

After being shown a photo of Chahine in his Wanderers gear, Tyson added, “We’ve been so fortunate to come into an area this year that has seen different cases of people go way beyond the normal realms of support for this club, for example painting themselves red and black on a cold night to come and watch us play.”

The Western Sydney Wanders’ Head of Community, Tim Thorne has explained the extended club’s community-oriented role in this event.  “We have got eight hundred of our community people coming in to share in the parade including elite players, local club players, volunteers and school ambassadors.”

Being held two days after the team’s grand final against the Central Coast Mariners, the parade on Tuesday, March 23 will commence at 12:30pm along Church Street, with marchers making their way to Prince Alfred Park to welcome the players on stage.

As for whether the Wanderers’ ‘biggest fan’ will be attending the parade is a fairly obvious answer according to Cane.  Whilst he will be undergoing a wisdom teeth operation on Tuesday morning, he says that he will be there “even if the local anesthetic hasn’t worn off”.

* name has been changed at interviewee’s request

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