As the AFL grapples with the magnitude of the current Coronavirus pandemic, moves are afoot in Cairns to relocate the proposed China match to the northern Australian city.
The Round 12 clash between Port Adelaide and St Kilda was again scheduled to be the showcase match in Shanghai as the AFL continues to grow the Chinese market. However, the spread of the disease across China and the world has alarm bells ringing in all spheres of life, including football.
Whilst the AFL is yet to make a decision on whether the Shanghai match goes ahead, the league is in negotiations with alternative venues to host the game. Whilst there are likely to be other major AFL venues available across that weekend, notably May 31st which was the scheduled date of the clash, Cairns is seeking the opportunity to act as the new host should Shanghai lose the match.
The Jharkhand Crows have taken out the AFL India 2020 ARFAI National Championship in Murshidabad, West Bengal. The city is to the north of Kolkata near the Bangladesh border. The Crows downed the host team, the West Bengal Tigers in a "fantastic game of footy" by 10 points. The final scores was the Jharkhand Crows 32 down the West Bengal Tigers 22.
The 8th National Championships this year featured the two finalists as well as the Kerala Bombers, Bihar Bulldogs, Odisha Swans, Maharashtra Giants, Tamil Nadu Kangaroos, Telangana Saints and the Andhra Magpies - the team for the 10th Indian state to take up the game.
The following video clip gives a small sample of one of the games played over the two days of the event.
“Today many men in my area consider me a leader which is very rare for people in my area. Many of the men who were against me once are now proud of me.”
And, in that passage alone, the inspiring story of Karishma Ali can be seen coming to life. This young woman graced Australian footy fields back in 2017 as part of the inaugural Pakistan Shaheens women’s team at the IC17 tournament in Melbourne. Since then, Karishma has not only been a driving force for the game back home in Pakistan – both for women and the game as a whole – and significantly become a world role model for women of all ages.
Since those days, Karishma has had her clothing paraded on the catwalks of Milan, met with British royalty and been a youth and women’s advocate within Pakistan envoys to China and the United States. This is heady stuff, and rather amazing for a young woman who was also named as one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 success stories.
(Karishma in action for the Pakistan Shaheens at IC17)
In a footy world where some leagues have been dominated by particular clubs over long periods of time (think Paris Cockerels, Manchester Mozzies, Dubai Dragons), it is refreshing to see a competition that still sits on a razor’s edge after 17 years. The biggest match in China has been the China Cup between the Beijing Bombers and Shanghai Tigers since 2003.
Last weekend, the Bombers downed the Tigers by a whopping 101 points. It was a surprise result in that the margin was unexpected. However, the result also brought the rivalry even closer as little now separates the two teams over the life of the cup.
Heading into the final match of 2019, the Tigers held a 7 to 6 series lead since 2003. With the Bombers winning last weekend’s match, and the Tigers winning earlier in the year, the wnnner for 2019 is still to be determined. If the result comes down to goal difference over the matches, the 101 point win will see the Bombers crowned 2019 champions and a seven all series tally.
Recently established Mongolian Wolves and AFL Japan GO League club, Osaka Dingoes had organised a special match to gain experiences and to enjoy the Australian Rules for both sides.
It was held on Saturday, 19 October 2019 at Izumi Sports Village in the wider Osaka Region. The match was the first competing one for the visitor in their history.
Rain had poured the previous night and occasionally on the game day. The game started at 5.20 pm with wet conditions in a soccer pitch with artificial grasses.
Wolves with experienced players (their average age is 42) and Dingoes with mixed in ages, heights and nationalities played close at first quarter. Both sides attacked and defended, and scored three goals each other. The visitor led by one point at the first break.
In another historic first for footy in Asia, the newest footy nation, Mongolia, have already gathered enough talent and numbers to undertake a journey to Japan to play the Osaka Dingoes. The two will be playing this weekend for the prestigious “Canine Cup” in the first of what is hoped will be a long tradition of games.
It is a massive undertaking for the travelling wolves to head as a team to Japan, but there would be a groundswell of confidence that the move will not just be successful in its own right, but open the door to continued growth of the game in Mongolia. The chance to create more international “friendlies” will become more real.
Michael Gallus was asked if there was one word that could describe his recent trip to the footballing heartlands of Pakistan. He answered, “simply extraordinary!” Sadly, for Michael, that’s two words, so he doesn’t win that lovely lounge suite. However, he did win the hearts of Pakistan communities across the country, and he won many converts to our great game.
Michael has just returned from a monumental promotion of Australian football on behalf of the AFL. As previously reported by World Footy News (see Operation: Pakistan), Michael accepted the invitation from AFL Pakistan and gained assistance from Simon Highfield, the Development Manager for AFL Asia, to tour the nation and work with local people to identify ways that game could be further developed.
The AFL has today confirmed the fourth annual Shanghai match will be featured in Round 11 of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Since AFL’s expansion into China in 2017, three successful matches involving Port Adelaide, St Kilda and Gold Coast SUNS Football Clubs have been played at Jiangwan Stadium in Shanghai’s Yangpu District. The Port Adelaide Football Club’s vision in partnership with the AFL have led the way in unlocking the potential the Chinese market has on the growth of the game both on and off the field.