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.
The Southern Dragons, a footy club based mainly around Melbourne's Asian immigrant community, travelled to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) on Saturday January 7th for a tour match against the Vietnam Swans, a club composed mainly of Australian expats living and working in Vietnam.
On this occasion, it was the Vietnamese from Australia who ran out decisive winners over the Australians from Vietnam, the final margin being 11.14 (80) to 5.6 (36) in favour of the Dragons.
The Dragons play in Melbourne's Southern Football League, where they this year claimed their first-ever senior flag by defeating Mount Waverley in the Division 3 Grand Final. Reflecting the club's depth, the reserves also made it to the decider, although they had to be content with being runners-up. (Herald Sun report here).
Approximately half of the Dragons' players are of Vietnamese descent, with the remainder including (among others) Camdodian, Chinese, Thai, Greek, New Zealand and Anglo Australians. One of their stalwarts is Jiaming Pi (aka JP), a native of China who came to Australia as a teenager and is well-known to the international footy crowd for leading the Chinese Red Demons at the last two International Cups. JP is currently a multicultural ambassador for the AFL, provided commentary in Mandarin for the crowd at the ''Shanghai Showdown'' between Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions in 2010, and maintains a blog dedicated to coverage of footy news for Chinese speakers.
Players from the Southern Dragons have trained with the Swans in Saigon, as members of the Swans have with the Dragons in Melbourne - "Damo" Judd from the Vietnam Swans even having played a match with them. In July 2010, four of the Southern Dragons joined the Swans and Vietnam Veterans at the MCG for a formal prematch function with the Sydney Swans, photos of which can be seen here.
The Melbourne Football Club are continuing to talk up their commitment to China, both as a training venue and as a land of commercial opportunities. Amongst that are community programs and developing the game there.
It's early days yet, but it's pleasing that the Demons are still very much interested in pursuing relationships in China. Hopefully some continuity can be established in centres such as Beijing and Tianjin (site of the first dedicated footy field in China).
It has taken 21 years – but the Osaka Dingoes have secured their first Japan AFL Premiership, overpowering the Eastern Hawks by 22 points.
The teams had met in Osaka in the regular season, with the Minor Premiers, the Dingoes running out winners 78 to 42 winners
The start of the Grand Final went Osaka's way. The Dingoes scored early in the First Quarter, courtesy of D. Moon, who ended up with six goals for the match. By Half Time their lead was 21 points, and the match looked over. In the Third Quarter, the Hawks managed to claw their way back into the game and at Three Quarter Time, Osaka's margin had been narrowed to 7 points, and momentum was with the Hawks. Osaka must have been given a rev-up at the final break, as they kept the Hawks scoreless in the final quarter, whilst adding two more goals to their tally.
The AFL has helped launch the first purpose built AFL oval in Tianjin as part of its ongoing commitment to grow Australian football in China.
The $1.5 million project is a collaboration between the City of Melbourne, the AFL and the Melbourne Football Club. They attended today’s launch along with the Vice Mayor of Tianjin Madam Zhang Junfang and the Vice Director of the Tianjin Binhai Development Investment Holding Co. Ltd.
AFL InternationalDevelopment Manager Tony Woods attended today’s launch in Tianjin and said the AFL was planning more activity in China, including an AFL Combine and exhibition matches.
To most AFL players an annual Perth to Brisbane away fixture represents the ultimate taxing football road trip.
Spare a thought then for Jakarta’s Matt Stephens who chalked up his 100th International game at this month’s Bangkok 2011 Asian Australian Football Championships, the first player to do so for the club.
Matt’s remarkable international football journey commenced following a successful career with the Ainslie football club in the ACT. His subsequent move to Jakarta has seen him play his away fixtures in places as diverse as Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Vientiane, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The tournament nature of Asian footy season has also seen him line up against Timor-Leste, Dubai, Brunei and a number of Australian touring teams.
Thanks to Rob Spurr for this report.
PHOTO: Matt Stephens (right of photo) in action for Jakarta against the Vietnam Swans.
The International Cup is the undisputed pinnacle of worldwide Aussie Rules. But in recent times there have been a number of tournaments scattered across the globe that have fast become prestigious in their own right, capturing an “FA Cup” type aura, and are a much sought after addition to any team’s trophy cabinet.
In North America it’s the U.S Nationals, for Europe the European Championships and Euro Cup, and on August 13th we'll see the thirteenth annual Asian Championships held in Bangkok, Thailand.
While China is fighting out IC2011 in Australia, their Aussie ex-pat dominated sister team will be battling out the Asian Champs alongside ten other mainly ex-pat teams in what is the holy grail of Asian football. The eleven participating clubs include hosts the Thailand Tigers and visitors the Singapore Wombats, Hong Kong Dragons, Indonesia Bintangs, China Reds, Malaysian Warriors, Vietnam Swans, Laos Elephants, Macau Lightning, Cambodia Cobras and Asian Barbarians.
Thanks to Luke Anderson for this report. Luke is currently based in Singapore, but has experience in footy in Canada, and is an assistant coach with the French national team at this year's IC.
The Southern Dragons Football Club, in Melbourne’s Southern Football League (SFL) have had quite a big week. They have received a great little kick along financially and have received some mainstream media exposure. One example is the Herald Sun article that can be found here.
AFL Victoria and the TAC have this year run a campaign named 'Blood Oath’. It’s targeted at young men and is about getting them to pledge to look after their mate’s safety when they're driving. More info: www.facebook.com/mybloodoath