Carlton and Freo set to lead return to Africa
Monday, September 24 2007 @ 01:13 am ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
A decade after the Australian Football League's seemingly one-off experiment in Africa, with the 1998 Brisbane versus Fremantle match in Cape Town, AFL footy is set to return to South Africa with Carlton taking on Fremantle in Pretoria in a February pre-season, pre-NAB Cup match.
As previously reported (Carlton v Fremantle in South Africa) and although not confirmed, The West Australian reports that the match is tentatively booked into SuperSport Park (Google image) on February 2nd 2008. The heart of Australian Football is in North West Province and the likely venue would have been Potchefstroom's Sedgars Park, which hosted the Australian Under 17's against a South African selection earlier this year (see Aussie talent all class on African footy's big day). Unfortunately cricket commitments are reported to have ruled that out. Nearby Pretoria lies in the province of Gauteng, and North West's loss will be their gain. Rather than reward the region where footy has its roots, perhaps this will introduce the game to a relatively untouched audience. Let's hope that it goes ahead and it would be tremendous to see AFL South Africa and the AFL arrange to bus in some of the players and volunteer officials from North West to see what for many would be their first live game of AFL.
Also headed across the Indian Ocean, in December this year, will be West Coast. In the PerthNow story West Coast trip to South Africa a good life lesson it's reported that the Eagles will spend ten days in KwaZulu-Natal, their development province under a four team agreement with the AFL. The players will also be conducting coaching clinics in what is AFL South Africa's newest football region. The other AFL clubs involved are Fremantle, who work with North West, Carlton with Gauteng and Collingwood with Western Cape.