The Adelaide Crows have embarked on a program to encourage recent migrants to South Australia to become invovled in the great Australian game. Supporting other local football teams in the initiative, the AFL club recently invited thirty African children to a training session and tour of the facilities at AAMI Stadium (formerly Football Park).
Aussie Rules may not have conquered the troubled African nation of Zimbabwe just yet, but it has won a convert in recent arrival to Australia Tinashe Nyatsanga. He quickly fell in love with the sport and is now one of the game's most sought after commodities - an umpire.
In recent years the AFL has begun to focus its international attention on South Africa, moving from a fairly passive international footy role, supporting a few countries, to actively pursuing growth. A complete review of the AFL's approach to international development is underway, following a restructure of the influential Game Development section headed by David Matthews. We previously reported that the West Australian Football Commission was keen to take on a lead international role in their region (see Western Australia to target development for Indian Ocean region?)
and this has taken a step forward with a submission to the WAFC and discussions between the Fremantle Dockers and the AFL in the last few days. Also read on for Andrew Demetriou's thoughts on an AFL match for premiership points being staged internationally.
The recent Indigenous tour to South Africa was reportedly a great success and we mentioned that a key was for the AFL to continue that commitment. It was very pleasing that tour leader Michael Long recently announced that the Africans will reciprocate the tour with matches against an Aboriginal squad in Australia in 2007. The following report is from the AFL website and can also be found at the Northern Territory AFL's site under AFL Trifecta for Northern Territory.
Tanzanian marathon runner Samson Ramadhani took gold at this year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, but will be bringing a footy back home along with his medal. Ramadhani was sighted practicing his kicking with other members of the Tanzanian team at the games village after the team were donated two balls by Aussie Rules travel group the Convicts.
The Australian indigenous youth footy tour of South Africa has come to an end with the Aboriginal lads winning all three matches comfortably. But the tour was a great experience for the South Africans and if the tour becomes a regular event as hoped then the benefits will be all the greater. We review each of the three games, played in Potchefstroom, Mafikeng and Stellenbosch, with thanks to AFL South Africa Development Officer Jack Arnold for the information. Apologies for lack of information about the Australian details - understandably the busy AFL South Africa staff were focussed on their team. Photos to follow later.
The South African tour of talented young indigenous Australian footballers is underway, with the first match in Potchefstroom completed. The tour has three primary goals - as a developmental exercise for the Aboriginal youth players, encouragement for AFL South Africa, and as an investigation by the AFL to find out more about Aussie Rules' potential in SA.
In a surprise announcement from AFL Headquarters this week, the league has announced a major boost to its programs in South Africa with a view to the nation joining the Australia-Ireland International Rules series by 2008 at under 17s level, the seniors following before the end of the decade. The announcement also displayed an optimistic change in the tone of official announcements relating to international Aussie Rules, AFL chief Andrew Demetriou notably upbeat about the arrival of an AFL club drafting directly from Africa being close to hand.
Melbourne daily newspaper The Age today reported that a development squad of 22 young Australian Aboriginal footballers would tour South Africa next month, under the leadership of indigenous AFL stars Adam Goodes and Michael Long. The squad will leave on February 19, spending two weeks visiting black communities in the North West Province and playing three matches.
New South African coach Mtutu Hlomela (pictured) was a strong player for the Buffaloes at the 2005 International Cup and afterwards stayed on to learn about AFL operations. He also toured other states, building up relationships in the Australian Football community. During Mtutu's stay the concept of an Aboriginal tour was worked out and it is tremendous news that it is occurring so quickly.
Australian football continues to be developed
amongst children at an increasing rate in South Africa, in particular the
Northwest Province. Recently a Roadshow was completed in which "11
communities were visited, about 700 kids were reached and about 50 community
volunteers were involved in the training sessions and trained to take
up football on their own". The game has recently been introduced into
the villages of Morokweng, Schweizer-Reneke and Dithakong, which are all
in the Bophirima region of NW Province. From a personal point of view,
when World Footy News has been under pressure lately, it was also very
pleasing to see one of our writers (Jake Anson) and one of his mates
involved in the "Aussies on the Road" program, in which AFL South Africa gives
Australian tourists a unique look at the country whilst the visitors help
teach children Aussie Rules. It reminds us of some of the good things
that we can assist with, makes some of the sacrifices worthwhile, and makes it clear that we should continue the site for the good of football.
Jake spent a couple of days with the program whilst on holiday and we'll
no doubt get some great reports from him in the next few weeks or