Despite the AFL Season coming to an end, Whitten Oval was abuzz with activity on Wednesday October 17.
The Australia Post Multicultural Schools State Cup brought over 300 Primary students to the field with the aim to be named as champions of the AFL Victoria State Cup competition.
Sunshine Harvester took out the boys competition beating St. Andrews in the Grand Final and Preston Primary School were victorious in the girls' competition after knocking off Dallas Brooks Community Primary School.
However, it was the appearance of two special guests that stole the show on the day. Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassadors Ahmed Saad from St Kilda FC and Majak Daw from North Melbourne FC came to speak to the students about their unique journeys into football and some of the challenges they have faced.
As a refugee from Sudan, Daw’s highlighted how strongly he felt about the programs that have been put in place by the AFL, AFL Victoria and his Club the Kangaroos.
"The Multicultural Schools Program is going to go a long way to getting a lot of Sudanese kids, refugees and people from all multicultural backgrounds into joining footy." Daw said.
"At North Melbourne we get kids into the footy club and help them with their school work. That’s where we start and we use football as a vehicle to get them more involved in the wider community."
Ahmed Saad has a fairytale football story, having taken to the game at a late age due to living in Egypt during his early years. After three seasons of dedication and persistence in the Victorian Football League, Saad was recruited by the St Kilda Football Club and played 16 matches in his debut year.
The practicing Muslim gave some words of motivation to the aspiring footballers before they took to the field.
"Get out there, enjoy yourself and have a bit of fun whilst representing your team and playing fair. Make sure you focus on the three important aspects of the game; leadership, teamwork and respect," Saad said.
The Australia Post Multicultural Schools State Cup was officially opened with a performance from 'The Songroom'. This group combines primary-aged students who are new arrival refugees and migrants from numerous schools. The Songroom performed Bob Marley’s classic 'Three Little Birds' which received a rousing response.