Contributed by: Brett NortheySouth Africa stands alone as a beacon for Aussie Rules in Africa (with the exception of some junior clinics in Kenya). If it can become a major sport in that country, there could easily be a natural spread to surrounding nations, as South Africa is the economic powerhouse of the continent, providing employment for hundreds of thousands of immigrants. World Footy News reviews last year's numbers in this third instalment of its 2004 census.
Australian Rules Football has been running in South Africa since the late 1990s, but has only begun to consolidate in the last couple of years. Many of the clubs are in poor townships, and travelling to play against other teams can be relatively expensive. As such, establishing leagues has been difficult, and most players only get the chance to take the field for infrequent tournaments. Also, no formal registration procedure exists yet, so determining if players meet the nominal World Footy News four game criteria is difficult. Nevertheless, AFL South Africa have provided their best estimates.
|Club (Province)||Senior/Junior Players|
|Christiana (North West)||25/0|
|Ventersdorp (North West)||25/0|
|Ganyesa SCORE community (North West)||0/80|
|Bodibe (North West)||0/40|
|Verdwaal (North West)||0/40|
|Rustenburg (North West)||0/100|
|Mafikeng (North West)||25/40|
|Vryberg (North West)||25/100|
|Itsoseng (North West)||25/40|
|Ramatlabama (North West)||3/100|
|Eldorado Park (Gauteng)||20/0|
|RAU University (Gauteng)||4/0|
Clearly the exciting issue for South Africa is the number of junior players. The AFL have been pleased with the growth, and recently inreased funding, such that South Africa joins Papua New Guinea and New Zealand as the three most targetted countries. Most of the junior development centres around under 13 and under 16 leagues in Itsoseng and Mafikeng, and Auskick-style clinics, such as recent ones for 200 children in Potchefstroom, conducted by touring St Kilda and Convicts players. In total, there were around 160 senior and 540 junior players in South Africa in 2004. This number is set to expand rapidly with the recent appointment of a new development officer, more funding, and an attempt to begin a junior league in Potchefstroom.
World Footy News