AFL South Africa has held the first of three training camps to select their national squad for the 2005 Australian Football International Cup. The top players will also be fine tuning their skills as the Buffaloes search for their first win in international competition.
AFL Canada's fundraising and publicity machine is in full swing for the International Cup. Recently Canada's Sportsworld TV show featured an interview with coach Greg Everett and former Sydney Swan Tony Morwood, which can be viewed on the Northwind webpage. Their fundraising includes a golf day in which an Audi car will be won.
With just three months until the International Cup in Melbourne, there has been some confusion amongst countries over the squad sizes allowed. The 2002 Cup saw 30 players each, but some sides couldn't field fit teams by the end of the tournament. An extension to 35 players was argued for, and apparently some countries thought they had secured it.
The Australian Football League has confirmed the draw for the 2005 Australian Football International Cup. The grounds and timetable for matches has also been released. As reported earlier, the grand final is to be played at the MCG, and the series also includes a round of matches at a country venue, Wangaratta, about 235 km northeast of Melbourne. Hopefully with such a unique event and some local promotion, a big crowd will turn out for the regional matches.
As the only new side at this year's International Cup, Los Toros de España are arousing a bit of interest - and things are looking good from the Bulls' camp. A match televised on national TV, a theme song recorded and played on radio (complete with 'Making Of' documentary on TV's Telemadrid), the Bulls are working overtime to get some attention at home.
The AFL Canada have announced that the Sydney Swans will be their host for the 2005 International Cup. The Canadians have also made several more appointments to their staff for what is looming as a high standard tournament.
Australian Rules football countries around the world are in full swing with fundraising activities to get their players to the 2005 International Cup. South Africa recently had a very successful fundraising dinner in Melbourne, with around AU$25,000 raised. The Australian Rules Football League Ireland are also well on the way, as are the Papua New Guinea AFL.
In 2002, countries spent of the order of AU$100,000 each to get their lads to Australia. This has sometimes raised debate as to whether the money could be better spent developing their local leagues. But it is difficult to measure how important a tool the chance to represent your country is in recruiting and keeping players in the sport. The event is also vital in raising awareness in Australia and offers the chance for leagues to build links while they are Down Under. In the end, each country must make a choice.