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South African elite cricketers introduced to footy


Some of South Africa's finest cricketers were introduced to Australian football and the AFL South Africa program today. Pictured above are, left to right, South Africa’s Lonwabo Tsotsobe, the AFL’s Jason McCartney who coached the AFL South African team at IC08, Collingwood’s Sharrod Wellingham and pace bowler Makhaya Ntini.

A group of South African cricketers and staff, including Johan Botha, Makhaya Ntini, Hashim Amla and Albie Morkel, visited the Lexus Centre in Melbourne to meet Collingwood players and staff, including captain Nick Maxwell, Harry O’Brien, Sean Rusling and Anthony Corrie, as well as AFL staff David Matthews, Kevin Sheehan, Jason McCartney and Kevin Sheedy. South Africa are currently touring Australia, and although they lost the recent Twenty20 matches, they won the series that counted most - knocking off the Test champions 2 wins to 1.

According to a press release, members of the South African touring party have developed an interest in Australian Rules football having seen how the game has grown in South Africa in recent years, with 17,300 participants now registered in South Africa. Coach Mickey Arthur explained that he follows the sport having gained an interest through his name who happened to be the brother of former AFL player Matthew 'Spider' Burton. The cricketers appeared to enjoy kicking the footies around.

Amla (pictured below studying a football), already a star in Test cricket and touted as a future captain of South Africa, was interviewed on Collingwood TV (warning to international readers, Bigpond probably not available) and although he conceded (whilst dodging football's) that he was unaware of the game being played in his homeland, he could see it had possibilities. Kevin Sheedy gave the cricketers a presentation on AFL South Africa's grass-roots work and was also interviewed.

Collingwood has been working with the AFL establishing the successful footyWild program in Cape Town and is now seeking partners to grow a range of community development programs and activities including education, health and employment programs, scholarship and sports participation programs, annual community camps and exhibition AFL matches in the Western Cape.

Hopefully today's event is another sign of the growing relationship between cricket and Australian football. It's a relationship that has ensured ovals exist throughout many Aussie cities, from basic suburban fields to some of the great AFL venues such as the MCG and the 'Gabba in Brisbane - in their cases both would have existed but almost certainly without the upgrades seen in recent years.

Photos courtesy of the Collingwood Football Club.

The South African cricketers, Collingwood players and AFL staff at the Lexus Centre.

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South African elite cricketers introduced to footy | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
South African elite cricketers introduced to footy
Authored by: krabby_me on Thursday, January 15 2009 @ 12:14 pm ACDT

I had a look on south african news websites but couldnt find anything. Perhaps there may be mention at the end of another article though.

South African elite cricketers introduced to footy
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, January 15 2009 @ 12:52 pm ACDT

Yeah, I wouldn't hold your breath. It's the sort of thing that might get a snippet on the sports news on TV in South Africa, on the end of general story about the cricket squad preparing for its next game.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

South African elite cricketers introduced to footy
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Thursday, January 15 2009 @ 05:23 pm ACDT
One-day captain Johan Botha said he had already seen signs the game's popularity was growing in South Africa.

"When we go down to Potchefstroom we see the guys playing around there. Even one or two times when we're practising in the nets we see a couple of guys playing a bit of AFL," he said.

Mickey Arthur said his interest in Aussie Rules was kindled by a former neighbour of his in South Africa, whose brother, Matthew 'Spider' Burton, played 147 games for Fremantle and the Kangaroos.

"I became a little bit of a Kangaroos fan and got their jumper and everything because I followed 'Spider' Burton for a while because we get the (AFL) highlights show once a week at home on TV," Arthur said.

"So I became a bit of a North Melbourne fan there for a little bit, but I guess I've got to support Collingwood now."

South African elite cricketers introduced to footy
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Friday, January 16 2009 @ 05:55 am ACDT

Interesting to see in the Daily Telegraph (Sydney newspaper) a picture of Parnell from the South African team holding a Collingwood footy club Sherrin, but no mention of the trip to the Lexus centre.