The AFL today held a press conference at the Telstra Dome to introduce the Melbourne media to the 2008 Australian Football International Cup, its countries and more specifically the captains. While a few of the skippers were literally arriving in the country and negotiating the parking around “The Dome” others mingled with the waiting media. Former Collingwood captain and Australian Football 150 Years Ambassador Nathan Buckley and the AFL Talent and International Manager Kevin Sheehan discussed football’s international operations and the upcoming International Cup and took questions from the assembled media. We have podcasted the full session at our host site or here if you prefer ITunes.
The Japan Samurais defeated Box Hill North on Saturday at Elgar Park in a warm up for their International Cup campaign. It looks like the Japanese team put four fairly consistent quarters of footy together. Samaurais Coach Richard Laidler offered his thoughts on the 56 point win, "It was a good stretch out for the boys. It was not a full game (only 15 min quarters) but we learnt a couple of things which we could fix before the International Cup. Also we would like to thank Box Hill North to give us a bit of run before the Cup."
Japan Samurais 3.0, 6.5, 11.7, 14.11(95) Box Hill North 1.0, 2.1, 5.3, 6.3(39)
Goals Japan: T.Mori 6 , T.Kase 4 , H.Toyama 2 , M.Tanaka 1 , G.Tanaka 1
Box Hill North: Not Available
Best on ground was S.Yokoyama
In a positive sign that the Australian Government is starting to see the potential economic benefits of promoting the Aussie code of football internationally, former Labor opposition leader and now Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, has talked up the opportunities in a foreward of the IC08 Record, available for download from the AFL's www.ic08.com.au website here. The Minister's comments follow.
Under cloudy skies and a little late, the International Cup got underway with the first of the Multicultural Challenge Matches yesterday. After some morning drizzle, the rain held off and did not have a great influence on the match.
Gosch's Paddock, the training home of Collingwood Football Club, was in great condition. A small crowd made up of regular international watchers, families of Team Africa, the South African squad and entourage and a few forward scouts from opposition teams saw the game stall slightly.
There was no siren to sound, but shortly after some consultation the umpire tossed the ball up and it was on. The South Africans dominated from the start. With quick handball and plenty of numbers getting around the ball the South Africans put an early goal. It was Jayce Zidel who finished well after quick handball from a pack saw him kick truly from 35m out.
In parallel to the 2008 Australian Football International Cup, there are four matches being played as part of the Multicultural Challenge. According to the AFL Record, AFL Multicultural Project Coordinator Nick Hatzoglou explained that it "was initiated to give the chance of participation to several communities here in Melbourne. These communities may have otherwise been unable to be involved due to lack of support in their countries of origin, limited Australian Football experience, and in some cases, conflict in their country of origin. Many of the players representing Team Africa, Team Asia and Kingdom of Tonga reside in Australia, however not many of the participants play Australian Football at grassroots football clubs. The International Cup presents an excellent opportunity to engage these communities as part of this gala event".
See our main IC08 draw for the schedule of matches.
You can read more about the Multicultural Challenge in the official IC08 Record here.
The South Africa Lions are having a warm-up match against a selection of players with African backgrounds as a lead up to the International Cup. The game is being staged at Gosch's Paddock (Collingwood's training ground), corner Punt Road and Swan St Richmond, Melbourne.
Being held from 10:30am this Saturday 23rd August, it's a great opportunity for those international footy fans who might not be able to get to the many weekday matches of the main tournament.
This article summarises some of the match day and tournament conditions in place for the 2008 Australian Football International Cup, according to the AFL's official Rules and Regulations guide. It includes the length of games, how pool placing are determined and the send off rule.
India is a diverse country in southern Asia with a population of over 1.1 billion. Along with Sweden, Finland, China and the Peace Team, this will be the country's first International Cup. In many ways, the Indian team will resemble the South African side of 2002. They won't be able to match it with the top sides, but with the possibility of two NAB Cup matches in the country in 2009, and India clearly on the AFL's radar, this is only the beginning of an exciting football journey.
The Japanese have a solid university based footy system and have used this to bring new players to the game as well as maintain a good number for longer careers in the sport. They also have some solid Australian expats in the country to learn from and play against.
They have shown improvement from their 2002 visit when they went without a win, to two wins and solid showings in 2005. Following the 2005 cup Michito and Kase had their well publicised time in Australia with Essendon and then seperately with Wodonga Raiders and St Bernards, and have shown the potential for Japanese players to play the game in it's home country.
Coach Richard Laidler's goals for his charges are for them to "Win as many games as possible. Be competitive and never give in." And for those that saw them in 2005 that would not surprise anyone. And keeping with the trend of the current AFL style of "play on as often as possible" Laidler says his team's style will be "Fast and running football. Kick to a target or open space, play on."
The Indian side for the 2008 Australian Football International Cup has been named, and at time of writing just 16 players are listed. With matches of 18 on-field plus 6 interchange, you do the maths. Getting footy started in India has been an elusive goal for many years now, and the numbers don't bode well. Behind the scenes worldfootynews.com has been working to help secure some more recruits to the India cause. We'll update this table as new data arrives, and we're fairly confident that players have already been found since this squad was released. Lets hope India can spare a few more of their billion-plus population.
Update: The AFL has informed us that India now has 26 players. "The last ten were part of a selection process in Australia. They are all Indian nationals who have moved to Australia and fit the eligibility criteria". They have been added below (distinguished by surnames in capitals).
The Nauru Chiefs return to international competition after missing the International Cup in 2005. A small squad of just 26 players has been named, peppered with young men looking to lead the sport to a fresh start back home. It would be easy to write the Chiefs off, but with 17 players getting valuable experience in local Victorian footy this season, they may well surprise.