Plaudits continue for AFL PNG - a tip for other countries?
Thursday, March 17 2005 @ 03:35 am ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
Australian Rules Football appears to be going from strength to strength in Papua New Guinea. Numbers are growing fast, especially at junior level, and the game is developing a great reputation in the community, both on and off the field.
The country consists of several large and many smaller islands off the northern coast of Australia. It has a population of around 5 million people, which is growing quickly. Unfortunately it also has more than its fair share of problems, with law and order breaking down in some areas, and general social issues increasing. As such, AFL-PNG has made a concerted effort to associate Aussie Rules with a healthy approach to life. Obviously the game is popular with kids, but this approach has made the game popular with adults and community groups, keen to keep their communities on a healthy path.
A recent article in PNG's The National emphasises how the sport can quickly become an integral part of a community. Titled Mul District chairman commends AFL-PNG, the story states that Nathan Wantape credits AFL-PNG with rehabilitating many youths in the province, "through its community based programmes". Further, he said he would provide logistical support for the code to spread throughout the province so that it would help change other young people. This sort of approach could be a key to introducing the game around the world, but especially in less developed countries, such as those in the south Pacific and Africa. Of course, all countries have under-privileged kids, who would benefit from such programs. Easier said that done, but a good start in PNG.