AFL Multicultural Ambassadors, Majak Daw and Ahmed Saad will join over 300 primary school students from culturally diverse backgrounds to participate in the Australia Post Multicultural Schools State Cup on Wednesday October 17 at the Whitten Oval, Footscray.
Seven boys teams and seven girls teams will compete in the round robin competition after winning their respective regional competitions, which were hosted by AFL Victoria Multicultural Program Partner Clubs Collingwood, Essendon, Carlton, Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne, Richmond and Hawthorn.
AFL Multicultural Ambassador, Ahmed Saad said the Australia Post Cup highlighted the rich cultural diversity of Australian football.
"It's fantastic to see so many students from different cultures and communities coming together to enjoy the game so many Australians love. Hopefully through participating in the Multicultural Schools Cup these students will develop the same passion for the game that I did when I was at school," he said.
The Australia Post Multicultural Schools State Cup managed by AFL Victoria is part of the AFL Multicultural Schools Program – an initiative supported by Australia Post to bring students of various and diverse cultural backgrounds together to participate in Australia’s Indigenous game.
The AFL Multicultural Schools Program has been implemented in over 300 schools across Australia, 100 of these within Victoria, and has had a significant impact in uniting students from multicultural backgrounds – many of whom have had very limited exposure to Australian football.
The program has also highlighted how children who may experience learning difficulties or have issues speaking English are more engaged when running around with their friends playing footy.
"The game of Australian football can be an opportunity for Multicultural communities to experience our national game that is intrinsically linked to our lifestyle. It’s also an enjoyable game to participate in," said AFL Victoria General Manager Grant Williams.
The program is implemented into schools where 60 per cent or more of the students are from Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
"The Multicultural Schools Program helps many schools develop their sports programs and, in many cases, introduces them to a brand new game," added Williams.
The roles of AFL Multicultural Ambassadors, such as St Kilda’s Ahmed Saad, North Melbourne’s Majak Daw and Richmond’s Bachar Houli, have been developed to provide role models within the industry. Ahmed took to the game of Australian football at a late age and after an impressive stretch in the Victorian Football League was drafted to the St Kilda Football Club.
Since the program’s inception there has been an increase in multicultural participants at an elite level of the game.
Eighteen-year-old Calder Cannons star Adam Saad is a great example of someone who has made the most of the program. He was a member of the World XVIII at the NAB AFL Under-16 Championships and has since played for Victoria at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
This year he was chosen to attend the NAB AFL Draft Combine where he recorded the best 20 metre sprint time.