Sudanese migrants could be new focus for AFL clubs
Wednesday, October 05 2005 @ 12:39 AM CST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
Australia has recently seen a surge in African migration, and no doubt footy administrators will be keen to see some of these new arrivals embracing Australia's national football code. One such potential recruit is Mayong Akoon, a 15 year old Sudanese boy who started playing footy in the school yard 4 years ago with friends and has now been picked up by the Calder Cannons in Victoria's elite under 18 competition.
A lot of great athletes around the world have African backgrounds. Aussie Rules has been embraced by many migrants to Australia over the years, with plenty of famous players having Greek or Italian backgrounds. Few Asian-Australian players have made it to AFL level, whether that be because they haven't taken up the game to the same degree, or more time is needed, or perhaps due to their typically smaller physiques. The latter issue is not a problem for the many recent Sudanese migrants to Australia, with the majority of their young men tall and strongly built.
Brendan Roberts reported in the Herald Sun that at 190cm and dominating at junior level in the Western Region Football League, in Melbourne, Akoon is hoping to make it to the AFL, and be a role model for other Sudanese migrants. Such a development can only be helpful to the long term health of the sport, both in continuing its role as Australia's premier code, but also opening the eyes of AFL clubs to the potential of the game internationally. Crucially for Akoon, having started playing the game at 11, he should have plenty of time to develop if he has the natural ability, and being in the TAC system now, he will be given all the specialist coaching he needs.
The full report is AFL's Sudan him fine, 30th September 2005.