Aboriginal tour of South Africa underway
Saturday, February 25 2006 @ 01:50 am ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The South African tour of talented young indigenous Australian footballers is underway, with the first match in Potchefstroom completed. The tour has three primary goals - as a developmental exercise for the Aboriginal youth players, encouragement for AFL South Africa, and as an investigation by the AFL to find out more about Aussie Rules' potential in SA.
So far information has been difficult to obtain, with AFL South Africa staff no doubt fully occupied ensuring the smooth running of the tour. There have been a few small reports in Australian media, particularly in the lead up to the series. The players have been drawn from all around Australia, but with the largest contingent from Western Australia, home of the Clontarf Academy which forms the core of the travelling party. The series is also strongly supported by Tattersalls. AFL Youth Coordinator Jason McCartney is the South African Buffaloes assistant coach and fellow former AFL player Derek Kickett is coaching the AFL Indigenous Youth team.
South African national side, the Buffaloes, lining up against Spain at the 2005 International Cup
After arriving from Australia on Sunday 19th February the players conducted school clinics before playing the International Rules match against the South African National side at Potchefstroom, the main base for Aussie Rules in the country. Early reports suggest the locals struggled against the indigenous squad but this should not be discouraging given the travelling Australians feature several players who will probably play at least state league level in the next few years.
The next match on the card is Australian Football on Sunday 26th February in Mafikeng, before heading down to Cape Town for the obligatory climb of Table Mountain and ferry to Robbern Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years. The final match will see the Aussies take on the Buffaloes again on Thursday 2nd March, before flying home a couple of days later.
Reports in the Australian media:
Youth team to tour South Africa
AFL Indigenous youth tour to South Africa
The Long Road To South Africa
An Amazing Experience
Three North Queensland teenagers off to South Africa
African tour a life-skills lesson
It's sport as it should be played (includes short review of first match)