YOUNG boys leapt for joy while others leant on their knees in the worn paddock in the middle of the Nairobi township of Embulbul.
The final whistle had blown and the first international game of Australian football between African nations was over. Were there really any losersω
The historic match between players representing Kenya and Tanzania took place in late June in Nairobi, thanks to outreach organisation Zimele and its founder Tom Purcell, a senior teacher at Melbourne's St Kevin's College.
Since Purcell first visited Africa seven years ago, he has dreamt of establishing a sporting exchange between the neighbouring countries, but a lack of financial support and tricky logistics forced him to be extremely patient. However patience comes naturally to a busy, full-time working father of 10, as does persistence, and this year it all paid off.
In a first for the AFL International Cup the AFL will be video streaming matches live. In what started a few weeks ago as the likelihood that one of the grounds at Royal Park would have each match covered, and then last week was looking like two out of three grounds - now all games in Round 1 will be streamed live and be available on demand to watch at later date. We will post those details when they become available. Additionally all matches on McAlister, Ransford and Western ovals on Friday August 22 (Finals Round) will have the same coverage.
Both the Men's and Women's Grand Finals will also be streamed live for the first time.
While a number of players from University of Queensland may have come to Australia to study and live it up in the Sunshine state they will be heading to chilly Melbourne next week to represent their countries in Australian football. Thanks to UQAFC Red Lions and author Mike Swann for the following article.
The UQAFC will have a number of people involved in this year’s international showcase event IC14, to be played across Melbourne during August.
Canadian recruit Chantal Beaudin will be playing for her country in the women’s competition, a side which Red Lioness captain Kate Harvey was also selected for but recently had to withdraw from due to an ankle injury. A number of UQAFC ladies were also set to represent a combined European team, which was ultimately forced to withdraw from the competition.
As part of its commitment to promoting acceptance and diversity, the Essendon Football Club has endorsed its first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) support group – The Purple Bombers. CEO Xavier Campbell said Essendon Football Club was a place for all footy fans to feel welcome and respected.
“The Purple Bombers is great initiative,” Campbell said. “No matter what your race, religion, gender or sexuality - everyone deserves the right to head along and enjoy the football in a safe and positive environment.”
“Our club has always championed diversity and inclusion at the football - We launched our #EFCRespect campaign earlier this season and the formation of the Purple Bombers supporter group is the next step in this important initiative.”
The Cairns AFL scene has a boundary umpire with a slightly different journey to most others. For the record, Sampho (pronounced Samp-ho with a strong “P” sound) is most likely not the first ever Cambodian born umpire in Australian Rules football ranks. I would imagine there are more in the southern states where there are larger Cambodian communities that have been exposed to the game for longer.
Nevertheless, Sampho Hing has found his way onto the Cairns football fields, and for those few hours as he runs the boundary he stands as a gleaming international beacon for our game. He becomes a subtle invitation for others to follow his lead and slowly, gradually grow the game across the world.
The first question Sampho answered was the journey from Cambodia to Australia.
China returns for their third consecutive International Cup and will be keen to show off their new look squad to an unsuspecting audience. Following on from their fifth placing in Division 2 in 2011 (which was already an improvement on their 15th placing in the 2008 debut), this year’s squad has been working solidly across a range of areas and expect to ruffle more than a few feathers.
The Country and Australian Football
The People's Republic of China (PRC) is the most populous state in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. The PRC exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four directly administered municipalities (Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and the capital city- Beijing), as well as two special administrative regions (SARs) – Hong Kong and Macau
Indonesia may debuting at the International Cup but the country has a footy history that has been passed along to squad given the honour of representing their massive nation. This is a massive step for footy in Indonesia and also the future of footy development for Asian nationals.
The Country and Australian Football.
Indonesia is a sovereign state in South East Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising some 17,000 islands with a population of over 238 million people, making it the world's fourth most populous country.
Indonesia lies between latitudes 11°S and 6°N, and longitudes 95°E and 141°E. It consists of 17,508 islands, about 6,000 of which are inhabited. These are scattered over both sides of the equator. The largest are Java, Sumatra, Borneo (shared with Brunei and Malaysia), New Guinea (shared with Papua New Guinea), and Sulawesi. Indonesia shares land borders with Malaysia on Borneo, Papua New Guinea on the island of New Guinea, and East Timor on the island of Timor. Indonesia shares maritime borders across narrow straits with Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Palau to the north, and with Australia to the south. The capital, Jakarta, is on Java and is the nation's largest city.
The Manchester Mosquitoes strengthened any claims that they are the powerhouse of the AFLCNE competition when they dispatched a worthy foe in the Huddersfield Rams in the 2014 Grand Final.
Clubs often don’t want to blow their own trumpets too loudly for fear of setting themselves up as the hunted, but the statistics for Manchester are impressive. The last five years has now netted four grand final appearances for three premierships: a consistency that would be the envy of all other opponents.
After finishing the home and away season on top of the ladder, undefeated but sharing a controversial tie with the Wolverhampton Wolverines in Round Three, the Mozzies ran out comfortable winners in their semi-final against the Birmingham Bears. The Huddersfield Rams finishedthird after the home and away season and had to get past the highly improved Nottingham Scorpions to reach the grand-final, which they did.
Four internationals have been invited to this year’s NAB AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne. Americans Marvin Baynham and Evan Bruinsma will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Eric Wallace, Patrick Mitchell and Jason Holmes who were signed as International Rookies after attending the Draft Combine.
Baynam is 6'7" and 210 lbs and played college basketball at the Georgia Southern Eagles. The 22 year old recorded 344cm for the Vertical Jump, 2.82s for the 20m Sprint and recorded 8.14sec in the agility test at the L.A Combine.
Bruinsma is a 21 year old college basketballer who played with the Detroit Titans and stands at 6'8" and weighs in at 214 lbs.
With the AFL’s International Cup set to commence in Melbourne later this month, the South African side “the Lions” are landing in Jamestown this week for a training camp. Current Jamestown Peterborough Magpies Coach and former North Adelaide and South Australian State of Origin Star Mick Redden will also provide the players with some tutelage.
Last winter saw South African National Team representatives Thembinkosi “Dhino” Zwane and Thabiso Phakedi based in Jamestown, as part of a unique opportunity in an AFL South Africa exchange program titled “Up There Down Under”. As part of the program, they played for the Jamestown-Peterborough Magpies, whilst gaining valuable work experience, particularly on local farms. It was the brain child of former AFL South Africa Football Operations Chief and current consultant to the organisation, Tony Kelly who grew up in Jamestown and still has much family residing in the area.
Canada's Northwind are ranked 9th for IC14 and could potentially finish higher depending how they fair against the stronger teams in their pool. With the largest organised league outside of Australia, many would see the Northwind as an underachiever when it comes to the international scene.
Whilst being competitive during group stages they have failed to progress further, with their previous Cup finishes being 9th (2002), 7th (2005), 6th (2008) and 9th (2011). With the last 2 years being used to develop a team that can match it with the powerhouses, they are expecting to be competitive in all their matches.
Japan is an island nation in East Asia comprising a stratovolcanic archipelago extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. It lies between 24° to 46° north latitude and from 123° to 146° east longitude.
There are four major islands, sometimes called the "Home Islands”, (from north to south) Hokkaidō, Honshū (the "mainland"), Shikoku and Kyūshū. There are also 2,456 islands, including Okinawa, some inhabited and others uninhabited. In total, as of 2006, Japan's territory is 377,923.1 km2, of which 374,834 km2 is land and 3,091 km2 water. This makes Japan's total area slightly larger than Norway.