‘Australian Indigenous Footballers to tour internationally’
Football trials were held in Sydney last weekend to choose both an inaugural men’s and women’s football teams competing to tour on the international stage.
Indigenous Football Director, Lawrence Gilbert announced the trials will springboard off the successful showcase of youthful talent at the National Indigenous Football Championships held in Nowra, NSW last year.
“There is a deep well of talent in local communities, and in local competitions that needs to be explored and unveiled”.
In preparation for this competition over 50 elite Indigenous players from around the country descended on the Blacktown International Sports Complex, home to the Western Sydney Wanderers, to vie for final selection to represent their country and wear the ‘green and gold’.
The event marks the first time a men’s and women’s team will compete on the international stage. Supporters of the elite program include: the Johnny Warren Football Foundation, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation, Football NSW, the Western Sydney Wanderers and Football Federation Australia.
Director, Lawrence Gilbert emphasised that ‘a new conversation’ is happening around sport and self-determination and the international tour is a platform to give it voice. “As tour organisers we want to look at pathways that give Indigenous athletes every opportunity to excel and represent their communities, the code and their country”.
A key objective is to highlight the importance of sport in the discussion around self-determination. Gilbert suggests a new period of conversation around sport’s role in Aboriginal health and wellbeing can create sustainable pathways for young Aboriginal people.
Former professional footballers, and national representative footballers, Craig Foster, and Andy Harper will coach the sides in preparation for competitions against formidable footballing nations and Indigenous teams from around the world.