The reigning Premiers of the Japan AFL, the Osaka Dingoes, one of only two non-Tokyo based clubs in Japan (Nagoya Redbacks being the other) currently have around twenty players. About fifty percent are Japanese, the rest ex-pat Aussies except for one American and a Frenchman.
Osaka, third most populous city in Japan, after Tokyo and Yokohama is connected to many other major cities such as Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo (over 400 kilometres distance) to the east, and Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka to the west by the famous Shinkansen (bullet) train. All Dingoes away games involve long journeys that are costly for these amateur players, so dedication and passion to play footy is not in short supply.
The Vietnam Swans have defeated the China Reds in a hard fought contest in the third instalment of the ANZAC Friendship Match in Vietnam.
The match was played in warm conditions in Vung Tau, where the Australian Army was based during the Vietnam War, with many footy matches played by troops on the Lord Mayor’s Oval between 1966 and 1971. The ground has since become a greyhound-racing track, but remains a fitting location to hold the ANZAC event.
The event has already become the most important fixture on the Vietnamese football calendar.
Each player wore a black armband on either arm to remember and symbolise the loss suffered by all, to celebrate the present and to look forward to the future.
A Legends and All Stars match preceded the main event, which allowed for those who were not playing for the Swans to don a jumper and have a fun kick of the Sherrin.
The Japanese AFL Top League kicks off the 2012 season on May 12th with the introduction of a completely new team, the R246 Lions. The Lions will bring the league to a seven-team competition playing at 9-a-side.
The Lions could well be the most uniquely named team in world footy in that the name is derived from Route 246, the highway that connects Tokyo with Kanagawa. The Lions aim to establish themselves as a community based club although the bulk of the players are graduates from Nippon Sport Science University (NSSU) and are very new to footy. The NSSU is considered the most traditional and honoured sports university in Japan.
The Lions founders, Jun Sekiguchi and Michito Sakaki (pictured with Kevin Sheedy) however are seasoned participants; Jun was assistant coach of the Samurai at IC11, and Michito, a highly respected player in Japanese football having been named in the Allstars team at IC05 and the World Team at IC08. He also played a preseason at Essendon in 2006 making the squad to play the Sydney Swans in a pre-season match in February that year.
The genesis of the R246 Lions was in Jun Sekiguchi introducing footy to a small group of friends who in turn brought along some of their friends to the next training session. More new friends were recruited until 16 players were training together. It was then decided to contest the Pocari Sweat Cup, a one day tournament held in October 2011. The 'Lions' managed to finish equal fifth with the Tokyo Goannas.
An annual Anzac Day Match is an important event held near the start of the Philippine AFL season. The match has been held on or around Anzac Day since 2007, and is contested for "The PAFL ANZAC Day Match Sands Of Gallipoli Trophy" which was donated by the Defence Attache to the Philippines. The Defence Attache also donates and awards the 'Anzac Medal' each year to the player who best typifies the Anzac spirit - courage, tenacity, initiative and teamwork.
This year the official season kicks off on 5th May 2012 with matches now played at the Nomad Sports Club in Manila.
Aussie Rules ‘Touring’ season is heating up as AFL in Asia gets underway.
It’s a competition that requires a passport and plane ticket for nearly every away game, has one team boasting a forward line that includes champion Hawthorn AFL premiership player Trent Croad and another that fine-tuned its campaign under the guidance of Brisbane Lions triple premiership player and Brownlow medallist Jason Akermanis – welcome to AFL Asia.
The five time winners and reigning Asian champion Singapore Wombats will kick off their 2012 campaign at the end of March, playing an opening fixture against the Jakarta Bintangs in Indonesia.
In a 2011 season that saw the dominant Wombats taste defeat on only the rarest of occasions, their Bintang rivals were able to buck the trend and solve the Wombatsin two of their three encounters. Adding insult to injury, Jakarta claimed both victories by the narrowest of margins, taking the honours at home by 3 points and then again in Manila by a solitary point.
A healthy crowd of around 200 onlookers and players were present to see the excitement unfurl as the Australian-Irish Swans took on the Irish-Australian Gaels in Vietnam for St Patrick’s Day. More than 50 players, from nine nations, were split into two mixed sides of 15, with each side having plenty of subs.
The scoring was modified with a goal in the net only amounting to three points, and a score over the crossbar only registering one point.
15 minutes quarters were played, alternating between codes and balls (rather than playing International Rules), beginning initially with the native Irish game. A tightly contested first half meant that scores were tied going into the big break. The second half was a lot less confusing as everybody had become more accustomed to the rules, but the Irish-Australian Gaels' persistence paid off and they managed to wrap up the game with some straight kicking in the fourth quarter.
The game was played in great spirit and both teams got together after the match for dinner and to celebrate St Patrick's Day with a few pints of Guinness.
A raffle was held after the game, which generated 9.5 million VND ($450USD) for Loretto, an organisation which helps disadvantaged children through education programmes.
In early February Richmond Football Club CEO Brendon Gale spoke to Melbourne sports radio station SEN and without prompting took discussion down the path of playing an exhibition game in India. Not often do things move so quickly – that now, 3 weeks later we see reports of plans coming together for Richmond to ‘host’ Greater Western Sydney Giants in Mumbai perhaps as soon as February 2013.
Once again worldfootynew.com is putting out the call for help in covering footy in Asia.
We're looking for someone to write articles on all or part of the region. It includes the expat-based clubs in some nations through to the League in Japan and the exciting expansion in China.
No prior experience necessary, we can help you out with contacts and ideas. You just need some basic writing skills, passion for footy and the willingness to spend some time each week developing stories. The amount you put in is really up to you.
Contact Brett Northey for more information through our About Us - Contact Us page (or click on my name above and follow the links).
The India Tigers were somewhat of a surprise appearance at the 2011 International Cup. At their international debut at the same tournament three years earlier, the team failed to win a match and upon their return to India, the governing body disbanded. Whilst interest in the sport amongst the players was strong, channelling this interest into structured clubs participating in regular matches would prove impossible in the short term.
The AFL’s decision to again support an Indian squad, without any visible progress between 2008 and 2011 was controversial. Will this support pay off? We explore the progress football is making in India post IC11.