The opening round of the new 2018/19 AFL Middle East season got underway yesterday in Dubai with two tight matches which produced two significant results. The Dubai Dingoes came out snarling against the Abu Dhabi Falcons, whilst the Dubai Dragons won a thriller against the Multiplex Bulls.
In the opening match on a hot morning at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai, the Dubai Dingoes got their bark back and put a serious bite on the Falcons. In a tight opening half, it was the Falcons getting their noses in front to go to the main break with a seven point lead.
The Dingoes came back out after the break with renewed spirit – conscious that their new season needed a positive start – and rammed home eight goals to five after half time to win the game by ten points. It wasn’t the start the Falcons were looking for. After the promise of last year they needed a good start to the season. However, the Dingoes would be delighted with the win after a tough season in 2017/18. Already they are in a position to challenge for finals later in the season if they can snare another couple of wins.
In a wonderful example of the power of our game across the world, the Essendon Football Club's theme song "See The Bombers Fly Up" has been updated and rearranged by Ugandan artist, Coopy Bly. Below is the stunning result - a stirring rendition of a song well known across Australian Rules football communities.
The bi-annual tour of Under 17 talent from St Marys Sporting Club in Geelong has been completed for 2018. The club’s long association with South Africa, and particularly the work of AFL South Africa, has seen students tour three provinces in what is described as a “life changing experience” for those students.
Other tours for St Mary’s students include Ireland and Cape York Peninsula communities in Australia. The South African tour features a series of matches and clinics for kids across the Western Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and North West provinces in association with AFL South Africa and AFL FootyWILD.
After a closely run season in the Stockholm Australian Football Federation (SAFF) competition, the Norrtälje Dockers will clash with the Solna Axemen in the 2018 Grand Final. Having won their respective ways into the biggest game of the year, both teams will put on a great show in front of the Stockholm locals at Skarpnäck Sportfält. The SAFF Grad Final is one of the premier sporting events on AFL Sweden’s calendar.
The Dockers will play in their second Grand Final. They already have a 100% record in the biggest game of the year, having won their one and only back in 2016. After finishing the home and away season on top of the ladder, the Dockers will start slight favourites. The two teams have clashed three times this year, with the Dockers winning two of those matches.
The following article, is translated as closely as possible from the original story in Arabic for the www.filgoal.com website – an Egyptian sports website. Certainly, the appearance of this story in the Egyptian sports reporting market indicates a growing interest in the game, built almost entirely on the back of an Auskick program run by Professor Mohammed Hashem at the American University Cairo.
Can you imagine a game that holds the mix of football and hand [handball] togetherω Australian football, that you will probably [be hearing] about for the first time, will give you that mix.
Australian football is a wide-ranging game in its country [played Australia-wide], with the highest scoring rate in the country, and the Aussie’s [game is] the fourth-highest in all sports after the NFL, Bundesliga and English Premier League.
Last week, World Footy News reported on the development of the game in Egypt through the work of Professor Mohammed Hashem and hundreds of enthusiastic kids embracing his Auskick In Egypt program (see:Spirit Of Ancient Egypt). Since then, things have moved quickly in Egypt.
As this story is being written Professor Hashem (Mo Hash) is in the far south-western Egyptian location of New Valley within the greater New Valley Governorate. He is there running Auskick-style clinics to another gathering of wildly excited kid embracing the game. What makes this clinic particularly special is the location.
New Valley is around 1000 kilometres south of the Egyptian capital city of Cairo. It is roughly due west of the Nile city of Luxor. The region sits within the eastern fringes of the Sahara Desert, close to both Sudan and the Libyan border. If I had been asked to find a more remote part of the world, New Valley would go close – as a kid I was enthralled by the magic of the isolated (now dry) Lake Chad in near-neighbouring Chad, south of Libya.
Whether you use the analogy of a strong wind blowing in from the Sahara, a tide relentlessly crossing the Mediterranean or a powerful new current flowing down the Nile, there is definitely something flowing into Egypt – a new game taking root in the land of one of the world’s oldest civilisations
Professor Mohammed Hashem from the American University in Cairo takes up the story. “Yes, AFL is alive and well here in Egypt thanks to our fantastic university and our great team. Egypt is rich in sports culture and the two predominant sports here are soccer and of course handball which the Egyptians are very good at on an international level.”
It wasn’t the first time that Aliir Aliir and Majak Daw had played against each other. Early in their careers they occasionally lined up on each other, including their first time at the highest AFL level in August 2016 (see A Glimpse Into An African Future) down in Hobart. But almost two years on, both have moved further into their careers and after yesterday’ thriller at Etihad Stadium, both have gathered even more spotlight.
Aliir Aliir and Majak Daw were lined up on each other for three quarters at Etihad yesterday. Both have had to re-establish themselves at the highest level. Aliir from injury and indifferent form across 2017 and early 2018, whilst Daw had reinvented himself for much of this season as a Kangaroo defender.
However, on the weekend, they were back in their former roles – Aliir the powerful defender and Daw the athletic forward. For three quarters both dazzled and entertained in a power struggle within a bigger struggle as the Roos and Swans remained within touch of each other. Then Aliir got loose up forward for the Swans and kicked the match-winning goal in a thrilling finish. Aliir’s effort sent Swans fans into delirium and Roo fans despair. On the day Daw on the statistical battle with four goals. Aliir’s single goal won the match.
The AFL’s 2018 campaign “Don’t Believe I Never” has been released. The key motivator in the campaign is a series of three videos focusing on the inspirational journeys of three people. Featured are Richmond coach Damien Hardwick and his journey with the club to premiership success, Sydney Swans footballer Aliir Aliir and his incredible journey from war-torn Sudan to the AFL and a teenage school-girl in western Sydney and her journey to the Bankstown Bull Sharks. Below is the story of Aliir Aliir.
There is a football revolution growing quietly, yet purposefully, across East African nations. Whilst most clubs and leagues outside of Australia grow from club to region to nation (or something similar), the growth across some African nations has been the opposite. National teams growing and filtering down to more localised growth. It is unique, and just possibly a blueprint for others to follow. To achieve it, the key pillars are a love of sport – any sport – and a liberal sprinkling of desire, determination, dedication, unity and faith.
Tom Purcell is not the only person to have driven this remarkable growth – a growth that sees teams from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda competing already and may soon add South Sudan and Rwanda. He works with a huge group people – ministers, teachers, students and so many others – to bring together an amazing sporting achievement. Tom was happy, however, for an interview to discuss the many aspects involved in one of Australian football’s most remarkable footholds.