A group of African-born Territorians have started their own AFL team to take on indigenous academies and schools across Darwin, Australia.

The African Boys Leadership Academy has 23 players, and aims to build confidence and character.

AFLNT multicultural programs manager Adam Moedt said he hoped the team would help ease racial tensions between indigenous and African teenagers.

Patrick Taban, 14, was born in a Ugandan refugee camp and came to Australia in 2006.

He fell in love with AFL the first time his neighbour invited him for a kick. (What’s AFL? Look at the footnote for more information).

“Footy’s a good sport,” he said. “For most of us here, it’s our first time playing it.

“We all came from Africa and all we do there is play soccer, so it was good to learn something new when we came to Australia instead of sticking with the same.”

He said the game helped him make friends in his new country.

“It’s not just a game,” he said.

“It helped me heaps because when I had problems and that, I could just play footy and get away from it.”

The boys also organise a multicultural Auskick football clinic for kids in Jingili.

They play their first game today (24/08/2012), against St Johns Catholic College in Darwin.

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What is the AFL:

Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, also called football, footy or Aussie rules (and in some regions called—erroneously—AFL, after the Australian Football League, the only fully professional Australian rules football league) is a sport played between two teams of 18 players on the field on either an Australian rules football ground, a modified cricket field or another modified sports venue.

The objective of the game is to score points by passing the ball through the team’s goal. The main way to score points is by kicking the ball between the two major goal posts. The team with the higher total score at the end of the match wins[4] unless either a draw is declared or a tie-break is used.

Why is African kids playing the AFL significant? (Afritorial.com editor’s notes)

In a country where African refugees have been welcomed in but still remain outsiders, Africans embracing a local Australian game is an excellent way for both Australian and African communities to interact. Way to go boys!!!

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Source:

Northern Territory News: http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2012/08/23/313096_ntnews.html

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