Edmund Rice Lions
Thursday, November 10 2011 @ 09:23 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Harley Vague
The spotlight of CHOGM has left Perth and the football focus shifts to the new year but the background behind the two teams that contested the recent CHOGM Cup deserves further attention.
Both teams are involved in Perth’s annual Harmony Cup. The WAFL is the instrument for football in WA and has entered into a relationship with WA Education that’s producing results for all stakeholders. The following is from WAFC Emerging Markets Manager, Paul Mugambwa, better know as a South Fremantle Bulldogs player.
In March 2010 the West Australian Football Commission (WAFC) formed a partnership with the Edmund Rice Centre to develop a multicultural football team that could develop participants skills and knowledge of AFL and eventually assist them joining local community clubs.
Through this partnership the Edmund Rice Lions were formed and the team consisted of young men aged 14 to 23 from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds. The Lions were more than just a football team. While participants were able to develop their skills and knowledge of AFL they also developed leadership skills, team building, self confidence and a sense of belonging. In their first year the Lions trained 2-3 times per week and competed in more than 8 AFL matches over 5 months. Over the course of the 5 months the Lions had more the 75 participants with 30 regular players. At the end of the first year more than 10 players made the transition from the Lions team into local community clubs.
In 2011 the Lions team was formed again but with new players. While the Lions team was still made up of young men from CaLD backgrounds, the program was also expanded to develop young coaches from CaLD backgrounds who would lead the team in 2011. The coaching staff was selected from players that participated in the first year of the Lions. These coaches were developed through the Edmund Rice Youth Leadership program and each coach completed a Level 1 AFL Coaching course administered by the WAFC.
The Lions coaching and development team focuses on improving the leadership qualities of their players through footy training and a leadership development program. While the coaching team aims to develop talented young footballers they also hope to turn these young people into positive roles models that will inspire other young people who come to Australia to serve their community through sport.
As with the first year, the new Lions also trained 2-3 times per week and competed in more than 8 AFL matches. At the conclusion of 2011 the new Lions are anticipating more players making the transition into community football and generating more potential coaches for 2012.
In 2011 the Edmund Rice Lions also formed a key partnership with the Indigenous Community through their work with Catalyst and Balga Detached schools. The integration of players and staff from Indigenous and CaLD communities was a key outcome of the partnership and the strategic plan of the WAFC Multicultural Program.
The success of the Edmund Rice Lions and the partnership between the Edmund Rice Centre and the WAFC has been promoted and advocated throughout the football industry including stories on the ABC during WAFL coverage, articles on the AFL and WAFL websites and articles in the WAFL Football Budget. The Lions also generated coverage in the wider community with stories in the West Australian, several local papers and on Sports FM.
The partnership between the Edmund Rice Centre and the WAFC plays a key role in the development of the Multicultural Program at the WAFC and has also influenced the strategic direction of the AFLs Multicultural Program.
Edmund Rice Lions
Past player Peter Ajang coaching
E.R. Lions at the Harmony Cup