Sometimes we can look at a sport or activity we enjoy and wonder why it doesn’t just automatically catch on and happen elsewhere. In the case of Australian Rules football, many of us see the glam and glitter of the game on television, or take in the atmosphere of a game by being there in the stands and think it’s all too easy.
But the reality is that it takes incredible amounts of money, time, people, resources and drive to make the game grow, whether that be at the MCG, the local club, or in remote outposts of the game in places like South Africa. This story looks at an account of how difficult it has been to fly the Australian Rules flag in a village called Bodibe.
It is almost ten years since Victorian club, the Hampton Rovers, donated a set of their footy jumpers to the Bodibe club. The following is an extract of an account of that event, taken from the Hampton Rovers website:
The following article, written by Sikhona Vesi , the Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) Provincial Development Manager, has been reproduced courtesy of AFL Footywild. It focuses on the national championships held for the first time in Durban late last year.
The footyWILD National Championships is by far the most important event in South African footy. It reunites friends, divides teams and is known to conquer our imaginations, as it possesses the opportunity for our provincial teams to battle it out for our ‘holy grail’ which is to win the Championship and the bragging rights to be called the ‘Champs’.
In both divisions (high school and extreme) the games are highly competitive, as the players are not only playing for the pride of their respective teams, but also for places in the Geminder squad, the South African Lions and also to be part of the team in next year’s International Cup to be held in Australia.
The following story is a little late in arriving, but courtesy of AFL Footywild in South Africa we can now share their account of the recent visit late last year (2013) of the newly crowned AFL premiership team, Hawthorn. This follows on from a recent series of stories published by World Footy News concerning the School Sports Australia Under 15’s tour to the nation to play the South African Lions team. In coming weeks we will have further insights into the more recent developments of the game in South Africa.
AFL South Africa would like to thank the Hawthorn Football Club for their hospitality in allowing us into their sanctum for the day. It was an experience that will stay with the Lions players for many years to come, and motivate them to hopefully play AFL in Australia one day. We wish Hawthorn the best of luck for the rest of their stay in South Africa and for season 2014.
In a very special event for AFL South Africa, AFL Premiership team Hawthorn invited members of South African Lions players and umpires to visit them during their 12-day preseason training camp in Rustenburg, South Africa.
The touring School Sport Australia Under 15’s team have completed their tour of South Africa earlier this week by whitewashing the series against the South Africa Lions. But, although the results might suggest three wins, the margins of 30 points in Game 1, 70 points in Game 2 and a 59 point result in Game 3 suggest three solid wins, but no blowouts. The South African team remained committed to their goal of making life as tough as possible for the visitors, and succeeded.
MATCH 3 RESULTS
24 JANUARY 2014- KHAYELITSHA CRICKET GROUND, CAPE TOWN
School Sport Australia 12.11.83 d South Africa Lions 3.6.24
The second of three matches for the School Sports Australia Under 15 team in South Africa was played on Tuesday at the Mohadin Cricket Ground in Potchefstroom. After the first game, won by the visiting School Sports Australia team by 30 points, the South Africa Lions would have taken heart from that scoreline. However, the visitors triumphed today by a far more comfortable 70 points.
SCHOOL SPORT AUSTRALIA TOUR - MATCH 2 RESULTS
21 JANUARY 2014- POTCHEFSTROOM
School Sport Australia 16.9.105 d South Africa Lions 5.5.35
The AFL Community – Schools website stated that the School Sport Australia National Australian Football Secretary, Mr Luke Soulos, has confirmed through correspondence to AFL South Africa, that the squad would consist of 25 players, 1 Umpire and 6 Team Officials.
It is with a heavy heart on the sad news of the death of South African Simphiwe “Stone” Mbhalo that we offer our condolences to the family, friends and the AFL South Africa community. Details are scant but we believe he was shot and died aged just 24.
In the international footy community he is best known for kicking the after the siren goal in the International Cup match against Ireland in 2008. For those unfamiliar with the moment the report of the match can be found here (and see the footage below). He kicked two goals in that match and was named in the best players four times in the IC08 tournament.
The 19 year old Kenyan born Sudanese youth drafted by the Sydney Swans last night may need to have a globe (or perhaps Google Earth) handy when he tells his grandchildren his life story. He was born in Kenya (1994) in a refugee camp after his family fled war ravaged Sudan. The family came to Australia in 2003.
We first heard of Aliir Aliir in 2010 when he was selected in the World XVIII team - he was living in Queensland and was identified as a talented footy youngster with a good leap and great skills. He was regularly found on the lists of goal kickers and best players in junior footy for Apsley Hornets in Qld.
Flying Boomerangs, a documentary on the Flying Boomerangs’ tour to South Africa earlier this year, will air on National Indigenous Television (NITV - a relatively new digital free to air station on Australian TV), Thursday, November 7 at 9pm.
The Flying Boomerangs is a personal development and leadership program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men aged 14 -15 years-old, supported by the Coles AFL Indigenous Program.
NITV accompanied the Flying Boomerangs to South Africa in January this year where the squad of 25 played two matches against South African teams in Potchefstroom and Durban, coached by former St Kilda player Raphael Clarke.
Susan Chuot is the first African player to make the Western Australia state women’s team. She was originally born in South Sudan but her family soon moved to Kenya to escape the war.
After her family moved to Australia, Chuot first played Australian Football at school, but her main passion was always soccer until she got involved at the Edmund Rice Centre, for young people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, coaching their Indigenous soccer team. Chout was then invited to become the first female to play for the Lions, the boys’ football team, in 2011 and she even captained the team in 2012.