A rapidly growing and deeply multicultural region, the Western Sydney Wanderers are built on and celebrate this hugely diverse community.Almost 70 per cent of New South Wales’ Indian Australian community reside in Western Sydney and a big number of those support the Red & Black.
Last October the Western Sydney Wanderers were represented at the Deepavali Fair by youth players Shayne D’Cunha, Richard Darko and Keanu Baccus. The fair is now in its 16th year and is Australia’s largest annual celebration of the traditional festival of lights.
“Deepavali means rows of lights,” explains festival organiser Ashwani Sharma.
“The festival symbolises the victory of light over darkness, and good over evil.”
The Wanderers players were just a few of more than 25,000 people who attended the event at Parramatta Park with people coming from across Australia for Indian food stalls, a rangoli competition, and a burning of the effigy of the Hindu demon king Ravana.
For Shayne D’Cunha, the festival has a special significance. Born in Mumbai, he moved to Sydney with his Indian-born parents when he was four.
“We got out and played football with kids in the park,” he says.
“There was a great atmosphere.”
“It is great to see so many different cultures represented in Western Sydney and I’m very proud to represent the region and all those cultures, especially India’s, by playing for the Wanderers.”
Before moving to the Western Sydney Wanderers Shayne played for Blacktown City FC, earning a call up to the Young Socceroos on their 2014 tour of the United States of America.
“Playing for the Australian youth team is definitely the best thing I’ve achieved in my career so far – every footballer wants to play for their country. I’m still waiting for a chance in the first team at the Wanderers – for now I just have to keep training hard week in week out.
“Australia has given so much to me – a new life that I don’t think I would have got staying in India.
“It feels good to play in green and gold – it gives me the opportunity to give something back to the country that’s provided so much to me.”