South America is one massive continent. It absolutely dwarfs Australia in size – and Europe for that matter. The Andes Mountains which run the entire west coast of the continent run for around 7000 kilometres alone. The distance by road from Bogota in Colombia and Santiago in Chile is around 6000 kilometres. This is where the footy kicks in. On July 22nd the Bogota Bulldogs will travel that distance to Santiago for the final instalment of the Andes Cup for 2017 – though probably not by road.
Australian Rules football in South America has long been championed by the Santiago Saints in Chile. They have remained the only permanent team for many years, crying out for company. With the arrival of the Bogota Bulldogs the game has a great chance to grow even further.
In a press release for local newspapers in Chile, the Santiago Saints report that “AFL football is back for the second instalment of Latin America's newest rivalry. This Saturday, the 22nd of July, teams from Chile and Colombia will go head to head for the Andes Cup in the leafy surrounds of Lo Barnachea in Santiago, 2pm local time. The Bogota Bulldogs will be hoping to retain the Cup after its comprehensive victory in the inaugural clash in Bogota in September 2016. By contrast, the Santiago Saints are desperate to reclaim the mantle as the powerhouse of Latin American footy, back in more familiar conditions closer to sea level.”
After the inaugural clash between the Santiago Saints and Bogota Bulldogs held in Colombia last September, the teams have been itching for another chance to clash. Last time, playing in The Andes Cup, it was the new kids on the block, the Bogota Bulldogs, that took the honours, downing the Santiago Saints by 46 points. See story Bogotá Bulldogs Down Santiago Saints In Colombia.
On July 22nd the second instalment of this South American footy rivalry gets under way when the Chilean based Saints host the Bulldogs. It will be an enormous boost to the game in Chile. The Santiago Saints have lived in a semi-hiatus for many years, unable to play much more than internal scratch matches due to the lack of another team on the continent.
A new opportunity now exists for any club looking for something exciting, challenging and very different in their footy season. Why not head to Santiago, Chile, and take up a new offer from the Santiago Saints. The club is extending the invitation to clubs from the United States, Australia or even from across Europe to consider breaking new ground.
For that matter, their newest opponents, the Bogota Bulldogs in Colombia, might be very interested in saying hello at the very least.
Patricio Saavedra, president of the Santiago Saints, is excited, as is the whole club. According to Patricio, “we are launching an invitation to any other club in America, Europe or even Australia to come to Chile and play against us during that period with the idea to start the first International Aussie Rules Football championship of South America. Members of our club are very motivated for this season.”
The inaugural international match between the new Colombian team the Bogotá Bulldogs and the Santiago Saints from Chile has been played on the weekend with victory going to the Bulldogs. The final score saw the ‘Dogs down the Saints 94 to 48 to be the first winners of “The Andes Cup”.
Teams were applauded for their effort playing in Bogotá, a city which sits at an altitude of over 8,000 feet above sea level – testing the aerobic capacity of all players. As the Bulldogs proudly state, their team plays and trains at an altitude of over 2600 metres above sea level, which is the equivalent of playing at the summit of Mt Kosciusko – Australia’s highest peak.
The following story comes from The Bogotá Post newspaper in Colombia, South America. For years the Santiago Saints have waited for an opportunity to play against other clubs, especially since the falling away of the teams in Argentina. The article, written by Kieran Duffy (and photos by Travis Crockett) gives details to date of the upcoming event.
The Bogotá Bulldogs, the capital’s first Australian Football club, are due to play their first ever competitive game. On September 3 they will face a team from Santiago de Chile which will come to Bogotá for the Bulldogs’ debut.
Having only begun practising in November 2015, the Bogotá Bulldogs have already attracted a large panel of players who will be keen to represent Colombia in the first Australian Rules football (also called AFL or ‘Aussie Rules’) game to be played in the country. While many are Australians, the panel also includes a large number of Colombians as well as Britons, Spaniards, Dutch and Irish, all new to the sport.
We're all familiar with players trying to raise money to head Down Under for the International Cup so this one is a little different.
Porto Alegro's Thiago Vacile has quickly become a keen Adelaide Crows supporter and posted about his passion for the team Adelaide fan Facebook page Adelaide Crows Pride. Suddenly there was a groundswell of support to try to raise funds to send him from Brazil to Australia to see a Crows game at Adelaide Oval. With the Pride of South Australia climbing to 2nd on the AFL ladder this weekend it seems a good time for Thiago to make the trip.
Aussie Rules footy is about to grow extra legs in one of the world’s farthest flung locations for the game. Chilean club, the Santiago Saints, have steadily developed in the five years of operation since 2008, and hope to see further expansion in 2014.
As mentioned in a previous article contributed by Saints stalwart, Daniel Boyle, the team has grown “with a mix of Chilean and expat players. We have had a number of players visiting or living in Chile involved with the mining industry and this has seen players with experience in the lower leagues in Australia pass on their knowledge to other players.”
An update from the Santiago Saints, based in Santiago de Chile.
The Saints have now been a club since 2008, with a mix of Chilean and expat players. We have had a number of players visiting or living in Chile involved with the mining industry and this has seen players with experience in the lower leagues in Australia pass on their knowledge to other players.
2012 saw a great charity match, with huge support from the Australian Embassy as well as other sponsors.
In 2013 the club is looking to lock in sponsors for a long term period, ensuring stability for the future.
The initial outcome was two players featuring in the World XVIII that played in the NAB AFL Under 16 Championships last year. It seems the search may now turn to Brazil.
Jon Pierik in the Sydney Morning Heralds reports that player agent Peter Jess is hoping to interest Collingwood in growing the program in 2011. ''I will be talking to Collingwood next week about holding some camps there [Brazil],'' Jess said. ''There will be a group of people working within Brazil, members of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, who have agreed to act as talent scouts for us.'' See The Boys From Brazil for the full article.
Over the last decade Australian football has taken big strides in laying down some roots internationally. Many of those started off as tiny projects to use footy to bring some fun to poor communities; some such projects remain at that scale and whilst never likely to make big headlines are great initiatives as they are. One current program is being run by expat Aussie Simon Corcoran in a remote area of Peru.
worldfootynews.com had a chat to Simon about the people and the footy there and where his dreams would see it all go.