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BYT 2006 - news, photos and media reports

  • Sunday, October 22 2006 @ 07:09 am ACST
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General News

The 2006 Barassi Youth Tournament wrapped up last week, but here are some more photos of the young international footballers involved, and a great letter from the parents of an Australian player which sums up the spirit of the event. We also report on some of the stories in the local Canberra press.

Some great articles appeared in local Canberra newspapers over the course of the tournament. In the article "Keen Kiwis tackle whole new game", by Sam Worthington in the Canberra Times (October 2, 2006), South African captain Lucky Molebatsi, 15, was quoted as saying "The game is natural, when you're on the field you feel like you're in your home, it's really nice, a good feeling". Such a remarkable, touching comment from a young man from another country should surely make all Australians feel proud of their game. On the flipside New Zealand co-captain Jason Woodward admitted to having received some teasing back in school for picking the Aussie game, but fellow captain Logan Dodds pointed out his friends were now jealous of the opportunity to travel the sport had given him. In another interesting insight, some South Africa youngsters were fascinated by the red hair of some of the Kiwi players, having never seen it before. In another article an ACT player noted that the New Zealanders played a tough brand of footy whilst the Africans showed a great jumping ability. Former four-time premiership coach with Carlton and Hawthorn, David Parkin, addressed the players and described them as pioneers of the game, and was impressed with the way the players handled the ball under lights, probably for the first for many of the players.

The following is a letter sent to one of the tournament organisers, Rob Nisbet, by the parents of a boy who played in one of the Canberra sides (reproduced with permission):

Hi Rob,

We just wanted to drop a quick note to thank you and the other committee members on behalf of Brendan and ourselves for allowing him to take part in such a wonderful experience. We have never enjoyed watching junior football so much and are very proud of Brendan being selected given the criteria was not elitist. When the element of winning at all costs is taken away, it makes for a great game. The smiles on the boys' faces said it all and it will be something that they will remember for a very long time. I think many heads of state could learn from these boys. The acceptance, inclusion and support they showed to each other was priceless. The thing we will remember most happened after the closing ceremony. Brendan and a South African boy were exchanging clothing and next thing they were embracing each other like brothers. This is what life is all about. Thank you all once again. It was a fantastic experience for everyone involved.

Kind regards

Jeanine & Michael O'Toole

Rob reported that Senator Annette Ellis told them she was making a special parliamentary speech about the tournament, and he also told WFN that "We touched so many people this week. It was one of the best weeks of my life. I've made some lifelong friends." All in all a wonderful experience for those involved, and hopefully raised awareness in Australia of international footy and perhaps will inspire some of the players on to bigger things in the game. And maybe the dream of the event forming the basis of a future youth World Cup may one day be realised.

Below is a link to an article in the Herald Sun about the Barassi Youth Tournament, and a reminder of the tournament website.

Grass is greener for boys at grassroots level

Barassi Youth Tournament website

The All Star team named after the tournament (see earlier article)

Some of the Kormilda College indigenous players

New Zealand and South African players mingle

Great leaps when ACT Blue took on Kormilda