New Zealand futsal player Atta Elayyan dies in Christchurch mass shooting

Elayyan in action for NZ.
Elayyan in action for NZ. Photo credit: Photosport

New Zealand Futsal player Atta Elayyan has been confirmed as one of the 50 victims of the terror attack in Christchurch.

The 33-year-old played 19 internationals, as a goalkeeper for the Futsal Whites. He was praying at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque on Friday, when he was shot.

The Kuwait-born Elayyan, who was a respected member of the Christchurch tech industry, leaves behind wife Farah and young daughter Aya.

NZ Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell expressed his condolences on behalf of the wider football fraternity.

"My heart goes out to the futsal community," said Pragnell. "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."

NZ Football futsal development manager Josh Margetts - a teammate of Elayyan's in the Futsal Whites - was devastated to hear the news.

"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. 

Atta Elayyan of the Futsal Whites at the ASB Sports Center in Wellington on Tuesday the 8th July 2014.  Photo by Marty Melville/
Photo credit: Photosport

"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."

Elayyan was the co-founder of LWA Solutions, which provided mobile solutions for some of the biggest brands in New Zealand and the Middle East, including Microsoft and Trade Me. He was recognised as one of the country's most transformative technology and digital leaders at industry awards in 2017 and 2018.

Tributes flowed on social media upon news of his passing.

"I can't believe it," said Matt Fejos. "That they would take you. One of the best. Dedicated Muslim. Friendly Kiwi. Proud Father, wife. Successful app developer. International futsal player for New Zealand.

"You're everything that New Zealand stands for and we must respond in the same way."

"Rest in peace Atta," said Futsal Planet. "We can't understand the hate, but we do know the love of our futsal community and you won't be forgotten."