Contributed by: Cam Homes
World footy followers will recall East Timor/Timor Leste contesting the 2011 International Cup, the new nation’s first foray into International Footy, and the fledging AFL nation not managing to record a win, although we should be reminded that two of their losses were by only one goal. Some could say ‘not a very auspicious start to World Footy’, though we can now report of a real success story with an East Timorese connection.
The Western Bulldogs youngster, Lin Jong, who made his AFL debut in round 20 against Richmond is the first AFL player of East Timorese and Taiwanese descent to do so. He is very likely to also be the first to receive a congratulatory letter from a Prime Minister, officially being recognized by the Prime Minister of Timor Leste, Xanana Gusmao.
Although born in Australia, Timor Leste is the homeland of Jong’s father, his mother being Taiwanese. His parents met in Taiwan and came to Australia 26 years ago to start a family and he is very appreciative of the interest in his background, it is also remarkable that Lin only began playing football 4 years ago.
On arrival at the MCG for the game against Richmond the 19 year old, was shocked to be handed a letter bearing the insignia of the Democratic Republic of East Timor, in which Mr. Gusmao, on behalf of the East Timor government and its people, congratulated Jong on his selection and wished him all the best for his debut.
Ironically, although about 50 of his family and friends were at the MCG to watch his first game his parents missed the match because they were in New Zealand.
To read more go to: http://www.afl.com.au/news/newsarticle/tabid/208/newsid/146212/default.aspx
World Footy News