The Townsville indigenous football festival kicks off

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    Tomorrow in Townsville, 200 of the brightest indigenous football talents in our great country take part in one of Australia’s most widespread football festivals involving competitors from all corners of Australia.

    We’re not talking about AFL, rugby league or even rugby. We’re talking about the round ball football code — sometimes still called soccer.

    The Townsville festival is the culmination of months of regional football festivals around Australia, with great football mentors and coaches involved in helping to prepare teams for the festival. It’s a sort of FIFA World Cup style finals series where the best indigenous teams around the country congregate in Townsville for a four day festival of the boot to try and find the best indigenous Aussie football team.

    It’s also a great opportunity to spot some of the best young indigenous talent and provide them with their opportunity to become one of Australia’s next generation of famous football players.

    This February, the FFA launched its eagerly anticipated Indigenous football program. The response has been tremendous. The FFA’s overriding objective is within ten years to get to five per cent of all professional footballers in this country, male and female, with indigenous backgrounds, playing in the national football competitions.

    That’s a pretty ambitious target set by the FFA, given that currently it stands at well below one per cent. But if the enthusiasm and participation in the first year’s festival is any indication, then it’s well within reach.

    As with other codes, the move into indigenous communities with football helps to strengthen those communities, helps them to be socially more adept, reduce crime and leads to greater participation in school activities and improved community health and well being.

    The war of the codes is being fought on many fronts, and in many local communities, and the push into indigenous Australia by the Football Federation of Australia is another way that the sport is trying to increase its appeal over others.

    The football festival is the FFA’s first step into indigenous communities.

    And who knows how many players of indigenous descent will be playing for the Socceroos, if and when we host the World Cup finals here in our own country in 2018 or 2022?

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • July 4th 2009 @ 1:13pm
      Joe FC said | July 4th 2009 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

      It’s a great story jimbo, I’m sure Warren Mundine will be fascinated to read “your” article.

    • July 4th 2009 @ 2:20pm
      Koala Bear said | July 4th 2009 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

      Jimbo,
      great article and it’s about choice and having a representative of the indigenous community playing for the Socceroos in 2018 Australia’s World Cup… Good on Harry Williams and company, a well deserved important programme to get behind and foster…

      ~~~~~~~~
      KB

    • July 4th 2009 @ 2:29pm
      jimbo said | July 4th 2009 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

      Joe,
      surely you mean the great Tony Mundine or Anthony Mundine.

    • July 4th 2009 @ 4:27pm
      Midfielder said | July 4th 2009 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

      Jimbo

      Nice article will add more latter.

    • July 7th 2009 @ 10:03am
      Jumbo said | July 7th 2009 @ 10:03am | ! Report

      Jimbo,

      The festival is a great initiative but it needs to be put into perspective Jimbo. The festival is not a culmination of the best indigenous football/soccer talent in the country. The teams only represent communities not states. Eg; the Dubbo team is only made up of kids from the Dubbo & surrounding areas. Some have never played before or only at a local level. Some of the best talent is still out there playing at local, regional or state level (via the mainstream progression system) who didn’t get a chance to play at the festival. Next year the FFA needs to work with the Federation states Football NSW, Tas, WA etc to ensure proper trials are held & the best players get to play-this was not done in NSW. Imagine the team that could come from this (proper) system. That team should then get a chance to play one of the Aus Joeys teams. The current system/festival was too rushed & hasty – I think to get things going-& for the bid-thats ok but its gotta change next year for credibility. Look into this Jimbo. Good story anyway.

    • July 8th 2009 @ 12:10am
      jimbo said | July 8th 2009 @ 12:10am | ! Report

      jumbo,
      good points, but this is the only indigenous football competition in Australia so hard to say who is the best.
      The tournament standard has been fairly good and uncovered some real talent:

      http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2009/07/06/64321_ntsport.html

      This is the first one and room for improvement, but well received and look for improvements and a bigger comp next year.

      The federal government is well pleased and putting up more financial assistance for the program and there are a number of other initiatives going on in rural communities and gives the indigenous kids a chance to play football if they want to.

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