World XVIII Ugandan excites SANFL

Monday, May 23 2011 @ 08:14 pm ACST

Contributed by: Brett Northey

We've had some comments and links regarding Ugandan sensation Emmanuel Irra but it's worth noting his rise as a separate article.  He first came to our attention last year as a 16 year old when he was selected for the World XVIII to compete in the NAB AFL Under 16s.

Irra made his league debut for South Adelaide a few weeks ago, a remarkable effort at 17 years of age, with only a brief history in the game.  Irra is playing some exciting footy and must surely be on the cusp of being drafted into the AFL.  With so many young African immigrants in Adelaide playing soccer Irra's success could be a strong positive for footy winning over the next generation.  And of course if he makes it to the AFL he could have a similar national significance, as well as continue to highlight the benefits for the AFL of a push into Africa.

Some of his highlights have been posted on Youtube:

Irra's coach at Sacred Heart College said in an article in The Advertiser:

"He's a beautiful kick and two-sided as well, and that's without picking up a ball until four years ago.  He's improving at a rapid rate but what he's done so far is testament to his love for the game."

Irra is eligible to be pre-listed by Greater Western Sydney this year and traded to any AFL club. If not, he'll be set for the national draft, telling The Advertiser, "AFL would be amazing and I'll try to work towards it.  If I'm lucky enough to make AFL, hopefully it would drive a lot of African kids to try."


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