Laos Elephants in Western Australia
Tuesday, September 15 2015 @ 10:56 pm ACST
Contributed by: Cam Homes
Elephants play footy at Wanneroo AFC, Perth, WA. in effort to promote and develop Aussie Footy Internationally.
Earlier this year in July two Laotian Australian Rules footballers played an invitational match for Wanneroo Amateur Football Club in Perth, Western Australia.
Story following courtesy of AFL Asia.
Years of planning and fundraising has finally paid off for two Aussie Rules clubs thousands of kilometers and oceans apart. Through the efforts of Wanneroo Amateur FC legend and current Laos Elephants President Steve Chapman, two Laos Elephants have been given the trip of a lifetime and in doing so, creating a strong bond between the two clubs.
After playing in Wanneroo’s 2010 Premiership, “Chappy” ventured off into a remote mine site in Laos and has not looked back, being a key driver of the Laos Elephants successful local development program.
Chappy and a few close friends from the Wanneroo footy club came up with a plan way back in 2013 to one day bring a local player from Laos over to Australia to experience the Aussie way of life and also test themselves against seasoned campaigners at amateur football league level.
This plan recently came to fruition with them not only able to take one, but two local Laotians over to Perth and it turned out to be one of the more memorable and meaningful experiences in both Clubs history.
The years of hard work teaching Ekaphon Choumphavanh and Handa Yattivong our great game through coach Craig Quigg, captain Steve Chapman and all expatriates in the Lao Elephants team over the years definitely paid off as the two boys did not look out of place and helped their side get to a commanding lead in the game. Unfortunately, the side they were playing against had more run and eventually ground out the win, but that did not matter. The real winner on this day was AFL football and especially AFL football in Asia.
With hopes of sending a combined Indochina Team to the AFL International Cup in 2017, with representatives from Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, this was proof that it should not be a hope, but should become a reality. These two boys showed that with a bit of hard work and determination, anything is possible.
A special thanks has to go to the Wanneroo AFC for all their hard work in getting the boys registered, and especially President Russell Burnett for putting the two boys up at his house for most of their stay and also 2010 WAFC Premiership captain Jonathan Small for all his hard work behind the scenes to make this possible. It also would not have been possible without sponsorship from IIMS and Caltex and also all the personal donations made by the Lao Elephants playing squad. thank you very much to everyone involved, you know who you are.
There are already plans in place to send two more Lao players next year, and the hope is that the relationship between these two clubs will grow even stronger in the years to come.
More can be found at AFL Asia and Laos Elephants Facebook group,
and Wanneroo Times http://www.communitynews.com.au/news/Win-some-Laos-some/7674742
More pictures at the Lao Elephants facebook group.