Contributed by: Wesley Hull
In a match that was well off the radar with attention across Europe firmly turned towards the Champions League in Amsterdam, the Zagreb Hawks from Croatia extended their hand to the Bulgarian city of Sofia.
After an 800-mile journey from Croatia, through Serbia and into Bulgaria, the Hawks got the chance to play a match against the Sofia Magpies. Rather than fly, the team travelled cross-country in two vans for the historic occasion.
The Sofia Magpies are the lynchpin of the AFL Bulgaria brand. Already the club has a strong connection to the Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL, and by extension the Port Adelaide Power, with the Magpies donating a set of the traditional “prison stripes” Port Adelaide jumpers for the Sofia team to play in.
As the club says of the playing jumper, “We would be honored to wear the t-shirt [jumper] with which a glorious story is written, and with it to write ours.”
The game was supported by some very enthusiastic locals as well as the other members of the Croatian touring party. Scores will follow later, but the winner wasn’t on the scoreboard – it was a clear victory for the Sofia Magpies, AFL Bulgaria and also the visiting Zagreb Hawks.
What happens next for the Sofia club is being worked out now, but already they know they are welcome in Croatia and could very well become a part of the Central European Australian Football League which already incorporates teams from Croatia, Austria, Czech Republic and recently Italy.
The addition of a team (or later teams) from Bulgaria would further extend the tentacles of Australian Rules football across Europe and almost connecting through to Asia.
For more information about the Sofia Magpies, visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/SofiaMagpiesFC/ . You can also visit the AFL Bulgaria website at: https://aflbulgaria.com/
Well done to the Zagreb Hawks also for travelling so far in the name of footy and helping the Magpies on their journey.
Final Score: Zagreb Hawks 39 20 254 d Sofia Magpies 5 2 32
Photo: The Sofia Magpies and Zagreb Hawks pre-game
World Footy News