The tremendous work of AFL India may be about to bring the sweetest fruit of all as the AFL considers options to take advantage of the tremendous football platform laid over recent years. The dedication of AFL India, and the uptake of the game across India, may be the “Perfect Storm” needed for the game to really take hold in a big way.
Nick Bowen from the www.afl.com.au website reports that the AFL are about to engage in further missions to explore the growth possibilities of the game in India, with matches at the highest level being slated again. This is on the back of recent stories from India which have looked at the growth of a local Mumbai-based competition (see Mumbai Footy Cup 2018), and a schools-based footy program in Mumbai (see School Kids Get Footy Lesson In India). Whilst these programs are outside of the AFL India umbrella, they also suggest that Mumbai is developing as the logical city to host an AFL match.
In recent weeks we have seen some tremendous initiatives to develop the game of Australian Rules football across the world. From player drafts and new urban leagues in Colombia (see Bombers, Bullants and Aguilas Arrive in Bogotá) to school and ministry driven national tournaments in East Africa (see Something Amazing Happening In East Africa) individuals, clubs and leagues are finding innovative ways to attract new players to the game and open up new markets.
Another example of this development is happening in Mumbai India where Reclink India has joined forces with Mumbai Footy to get the game into schools. According to Sumesh Sawant, Co-Founder and National Coordinator from the Reclink India report:
According to Matt Thomson on the www.afl.com.au website, he AFL will be taking the new AFLX version of the game into Asia on a bigger scale very soon. Whilst the jury is still out to some degree on the success of the game here in Australia with the AFL clubs involved as part of the pre-season schedule, smaller versions of the game have already been successfully adapted across the world through local leagues.
These amendments have included smaller grounds – rugby and soccer fields – smaller player numbers (predominantly using an AFL 9’s format adapted to include normal playing rules) and other adjustments. But the move into Hong Kong (see below) might be the catalyst for more countries to consider adapting further to the seven per side AFLX format.
AFLX appears headed to Asia, with the prospect of a November tournament in Hong Kong on the League's agenda.
The new season of footy in Mumbai, India, will soon be announced and get underway. Run under the direction of Reclink India and Mumbai Footy, the competition premiered last year featuring teams from across Mumbai – India’s largest city and the capital city of the state of Maharashtra
Co-founder and national coordinator of the Mumbai Footy League, Sumesh Sawant stated, “last year we played Mumbai Footy League which lasted for two months instead of [the] Mumbai Footy Cup. For this year the dates are not out yet for Mumbai Footy Cup but most likely it will be happening somewhere between March to May.”
Last year’s competition featured two older clubs – the Mahim Cats and the Matunga Tigers – with the addition of the Churchgate Lions, Grant Road Bombers, Mumbai Central Giants and the Charni Road Eagles in the first domestic suburban home and away style competition in India.
There have been many different mechanisms of bringing the game of Australia football to the world. And while Aussie rules football might not be new to Indonesia and even to Bali the game is still largely unknown by most Indonesians.
A group of school children in Bali have been experiencing an education in Australian football over the past few weeks and this weekend will take part in a tournament to be played in the new AFLX format.
The organisation that is putting in all the hard work to make this happen is Via Sport. Via Sport provides innovative education programs for students & volunteers through utilising sport as a medium for diplomacy & development.
Mumbai Footy, in association with Reclink India and Reclink Australia, has commenced the promotion of their 2018 All India Footy Carnival to be played in October. According to their press releases and accompanying itinerary for Australians to travel over to Mumbai for the events, visitors and local fans alike will be treated to an amazing football experience.
According to their combined promotional releases, “We [Mumbai Footy and Reclink India] are thrilled to announce the program for the 2018 All India Footy Carnival. Now timed as the perfect post-season footy trip in October, the carnival also coincides with Diwali, the biggest celebration on the Hindu festival calendar.”
“This year we take in the thriving footy scene in Jaipur before heading to Mumbai for three days of footy development, competition and fun. For many past participants this trip has been a hugely rewarding experience. This is a deep immersion into the India experience with the common language and love of footy at its core.”
Sometimes you just have to admire the tenacity of some footy clubs. Even when obstacles seem to be insurmountable, the Pink City Footy Club in Jaipur continued to find ways to develop – with or without equipment, money, supporters or things that most clubs would consider “givens”. What the Pink City club has in spades, however, is tenacity and a genuine love of Australian Rules football.
When the club received a set of footballs from Australian club, Pyramid Power, a couple of years ago, they were practising in a creek bed. Due to the unique terrain in which they were training (sand, rocks, broken branches) the footballs lasted about six weeks before needing to be replaced due, mainly, to punctures or other premature deaths.
But D’Costa David is a young man with a vision. He wants his beloved Pink City team, based in Jaipur, India, to reach the national level. He has watched the growth of the game across India with joy, and especially the Jaipur-based over-arching team – the Rajasthan Eagles.
When the team was first forming for the 2017 International Cup Anslam Diaz as proud Sri Lankan expat in Australia was excited to the he might be able to play for Sri Lanka. But eventually as the rules were understood as to eligibility it became clear Anslam would not qualify as he lived majority of his life in Australia.
He was obviously disappointed he couldn't play, but that did not stop him taking part. He was at almost every training session of the Australian based players in the lead up to IC17. He found the team sponsorship, he ran water and he was the runner for all of Sri Lanka's IC17 matches.
On Thursday, a wonderful announcement was made by the Osaka Dingoes AFL Club and AFL Japan. They have gained a partnership with the Kobe-based Canadian Academy.
In an agreement,
- Complimentary ground bookings have been offered by the Canadian Academy to the Osaka Dingoes and AFL Japan in a certain months in 2018.
- Canadian Academy's PE staff members will get opportunities to gain coaching and training skills for their students, with the training and development coaching program conducted by Matt Gale, the President of AFL Asia and the Osaka Dingoes.