Africans show promise in start to Aussie tour
Wednesday, February 07 2007 @ 12:00 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The South African developmental footy squad touring Australia touched down in Darwin, Northern Territory last Sunday 4th February. After a busy Monday it was off to Jabiru to play their first game game of the tour, against the Indigenous Youth Squad. The visitors proved competitive in losing by 30 points and would be reasonably satisfied with their first hit-out. Two more matches are scheduled, one in Darwin and the other in Perth - full details follow.
On Monday 5th February the team was scheduled to visit Crocodylus Park (the name says it all) before heading to TIO Stadium for a training session. The next day it was east to Jabiru (in the spectacular Kakadu National Park) for a school clinic, following by the local kids playing a match as the curtain-raiser to the South Africans taking on the AFL Kickstart Indigenous Under 16s. Fans should be under no illusions that Aussie Rules still has plenty of ground to make in South Africa, and the tourists fielded a mainly under 19 team but ranging in age from 15 to 23, giving them a significant age advantage over the Aboriginal players. With an estimated 2500 players in the country, the true acceleration in growth is forecast for the coming 3 years. Though younger, their opponents feature some exciting talent and it is no shame to lose to them at this stage of AFL South Africa's evolution.
Game 1 - Jabiru Tuesday 6th February 2007
QANTAS AFL Kickstart Indigenous team 7.11 (53)
South African development team 3.5 (23)
Importantly the tour is receiving Australian media coverage, which should help build a case for more support for the game internationally. In Outback trek breathes life by Mark Robinson in the Herald Sun, the reporter discusses the great experience with Julian Horn, South Africa's 23 year old vice-captain. The story also focuses on the return to Jabiru of local Richard Tambling, now an exciting young player with Richmond in the AFL.
Today the players will be taking a Yellow Waters Cruise and visiting Litchfield National Park before heading back to Darwin's main stadium for Essendon's training run. Thursday will see another great initiative, bringing in to play another sport shared by the two countries, with a social cricket match after another training session.
On Friday 9th February there's another kids clinic then at 4:30pm the South Africans lock horns with the QANTAS Kickstart Indigenous Youth team for the second time, followed by the much talked about 7pm match between the All-Star Indigenous side against Essendon to unofficially kick off the 2007 AFL season. Former Hawthorn legend Peter Schwab will support the young Africans who are being coached by AFL South Africa's Mtutuzeli "Mtutu" Hlomela, now a regular visitor to Australia and the Buffaloes' captain at the last International Cup.
On the Saturday the Africans head to Perth, Western Australia, where they'll play a Clontarf Academy side at Subiaco and launch a South African development plan. The players will no doubt be enriched by the busy tour, and will fly home exhausted on Thursday 15th February. The touring party is listed below, and from memory none of the players are from the Buffaloes 2005 International Cup squad, demonstrating that this is clearly a youth/development side - perhaps we'll see the best of these young men at the 2008 International Cup. The tour is also supported by Australian mining giants ERA and Rio Tinto.
|1.||Boikanyo||Kabelo Ferdinand||North West|
|4.||Garenamotse||Keeagile Molaodi Nelson||North West|
|6.||Khasu||Mohau Lebohang Goodwill||North West|
|8.||Mashigo||Kgosietsile McDonald||North West|
|10.||Matshane||Steven Ranchane||North West|
|12.||Phakedi||Thabiso Richard||North West|
|15.||Sambo||Dineo Kenneth||North West|
|16.||Sambo||Neo Kennedy||North West|
|18.||Seobi||Thabiso Godfrey||North West|
|19.||Sethibe||Mokgosi Samuel||North West|
|21.||Strydom||Gabriel Erens||North West|
|23.||Van Zyl||Josef Benjamin||North West|
|24.||Xhasa||Sandile Theophilus||Western Cape|
Mr. Neels Roodt: Chef de mission
Mr. Shibale Zacharia: Manager
Mr. Tonie Prins: Ass. Manager/Media
Mr. Mtutuzeli Hlomela: Head Coach
Mr. Peter Schwab: Ass. Coach
Mr. July Machethe: Logistics
Mr. Reginald Mokotedi: Umpiring