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.
Through the passion and drive of people like Tommy Purcell and his team, Australian Rules football is continuing to make headway in growing across a growing number of African nations. Back in 2014 matches were being played between teams from both Kenya and Tanzania. That competition has now grown to include Uganda in a three-nation rivalry.
In July the next instalment of the tournaments will take place when the Kenya Buffaloes, Tanzania Simbas and Uganda Simbis meet at the Brother Beausang Catholic Education Centre in Embulbul, 20 kilometres to the east of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
195cm ruckman/forward Joel Amartey has this week added to the list of AFL prospects from an African family background, being taken by the Sydney Swans at #28 in this year's rookie draft.
The Ghanaian-Australian Amartey impressed with the Sandringham Dragons in this year's TAC Cup competition, and will join former schoolmate Oliver Florent at the Swans, both Florent and Amartey having attended Mentone Grammar School together.
Florent is also from a multicultural background, his father being the late Mauritian-Australian tennis star Andrew Florent.
To see a highlight reel of Amartey's performance in the TAC Under 18s competition, click here.
Journalist Wouter Pienaar has reported recently in the Potchefstroom Herald about the exploits of South African footballer, Godfrey Molohlanyi, and his journey towards the 2017 International Cup in Melbourne.
Finding an Aussie Rules Football player in Potchefstroom is almost like finding a needle in a haystack. And, if that player is also representing South Africa in the Australian Football International Cup then you know you have discovered something unique.
Godfrey Molohlanyi is a South African Aussie Rules Football player from Ventersdorp. He is currently employed at Pick n Pay Vanderhoff Park in Potch where he works as a merchandiser by day.
Godfrey Molohlanyi packs merchandise at Pick n Pay Vanderhoff Park by day and, after hours, he plays Aussie Rules Football for South Africa.
Chris Johnson certainly experienced the highs and lows of football as a player. Drafted by the Fitzroy Lions in 1993, he went on to play for the club until their demise in 1996 – experiencing some of the leanest times of any VFL/AFL club. His move to the Brisbane Bears at the end of the 1996 season coincided with the rise of a new entity – the Brisbane Lions.
He went on to become a celebrated and decorated legend of the club, playing in three premierships, being an All-Australian selection as well as a member of the Indigenous Team Of The Century. He briefly co-captained the Brisbane Lions and in 2005 was co-captain with Andrew McLeod in the Australian International Rules team.
With a resume as hard-earned and impressive as that it seems only natural that his experience and philosophies be passed on to new generations of indigenous and multicultural players. At the 2017 National AFL Male Kickstart & All Nations Championships in Blacktown, that is exactly what he is doing.
Throughout November the AFL celebrated cultural diversity with a series of films focusing on the journey's of players from multicultural backgrounds. The following clip looks at the journey of Reuben William from the Brisbane Lions - a fascinating insight into how a kid born in Sudan has challenged himself to succeed at the highest level of Australian Rules football.
Travis King from the www.afl.com.au website reports in the wake of the AFL’s Rookie Draft yesterday that Port Adelaide has, as expected, selected the first Ugandan player in the AFL. The league already had a number of players of Sudanese and Kenyan heritage, but Emmanuel Irra proudly becomes the first Ugandan.
EMMANUEL Irra has become the first Ugandan player to earn a spot on an AFL list after joining Port Adelaide as a Category B rookie.
The powerful and versatile midfielder was one of seven players given a chance as Category B rookies as clubs finalised their lists on Monday.
The following story by Ben Guthrie at the www.afl.com.au website looks at the recognition paid by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull towards Sydney Swans defender, and Sudanese talent, Aliir Aliir. The article highlights Aliir’s almost automatic multicultural value as a community leader, made even more wide ranging given his example being used at a UN General Assembly leader’s summit on refugees. It is an inspirational story.
PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has spoken of the remarkable story of Sydney Swans defender Aliir Aliir at a United Nations conference in New York.
The next player of African descent will hit the turf this weekend in the final home and away round for 2016 when Richmond’s Mabior Chol debuts. A product of the Brisbane Lions Academy originally, Chol was snared by the Tigers with pick 30 in last year’s Rookie Draft. Along with Reuben William (Brisbane) and Gach Nyuon (Essendon), Chol was the third rookie from Sudan to be selected in that same draft.
They joined Majak Daw (North Melbourne) and Aliir Aliir (Sydney) as players from Sudan to be on AFL team lists. With Chol’s selection, only Essendon’s Gach Nyuon is yet to make his senior debut.