AFL to hold rookie trials in South Africa

Monday, April 13 2009 @ 01:38 pm ACST

Contributed by: Aaron Richard

Melbourne daily newspaper The Age this weekend reported that the AFL will be holding draft camp-style tryouts in the South African cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg, coinciding with the upcoming tour to South Africa by the AIS-AFL under-17 squad.

Similar to the Western Bulldogs' trials in Fiji earlier this year, the project will be partly focussed on recruiting athletes from other sporting backgrounds for the existing AFL South Africa senior programs, as well as selecting up to four South Africans for the "Mtutuzeli Hlomela Scholarship" to attend the AFL Draft camp in Australia later this year.

The league has placed advertisements in Cape Town newspapers calling for boys between 15 and 19 with strong sports backgrounds, who stand a minimum 175 centimetres and weigh at least 70 kilograms, to attend a testing day at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa at Newlands, with follow-up testing also planned. A session near Johannesburg, featuring about 30 boys already identified, will also be held.

AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan said that having introduced the junior program FootyWild to South Africa two years ago, the league's next responsibility was to create an ongoing pathway for talented players.

The full article can be viewed here.

For a South African perspective on the trials, the article Hunt for the best Footsie player on, by Sizwe Banzi is worth a read.

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