South Nowra hosts annual National Indigenous Football Championships

Thursday the 31st of October sees the start of the National Indigenous Football Championships at South Nowra Football Complex in the Shoalhaven, New South Wales.

Following a midweek ALDI Miniroos clinic on the Wednesday, the championships will be in full swing the following morning, with three days of fierce action.

The culmination of the event is a day of finals on Saturday the 2nd of November. Much will be at stake on that day. It will feature highly competitive senior and junior matches, showcasing some of the most promising and skilful indigenous footballers in the country and a demonstration of Elder’s Walking Football.

The championships have grown in stature over the last four years and Football New South Wales has continued to support what is a vital pathway for young indigenous players and a means to address their considerable under-representation at the top levels of Australian football.

The governing body has worked closely with local club Wreck Bay Sharks FC from the inception of the concept and participation numbers have hit an all-time high in 2019. There will be in excess of 500 indigenous players assembled in South Nowra for the event; with 44 clubs involved across both the senior and junior levels.

There will be sixteen male and female teams competing in the senior section of the draw, along with ten male and female teams in the age restricted junior competition (under-14’s).

Whilst an obvious celebration of the round ball game and an opportunity for competitive play in an officially recognised tournament, the event is so much more. The untapped football potential of our indigenous community is considerable.

Proportionally, the number of indigenous men and women who have been granted opportunity and played their way onto the national scene is abhorrently low. Thankfully, with opportunities such as the National Indigenous Football Championships in Nowra, and its continued expansion and growth, such opportunities will be afforded to a far greater number of indigenous footballers in the future.

Travis Dodd, Kasey Wehrman and Jade North flew the flag for Australia’s first peoples at A-League level before their retirements. The baton was then passed to James Brown and David Williams as proud indigenous men playing in Australia’s top flight. Now, they too have departed and young Western Sydney Wanderers defender Tate Russell looms as the most significant indigenous A-League presence.

Just a trickle of talent plies its trade in NPL competitions across the country and far more needs to be done to develop and encourage young indigenous talent. In the women’s game, representation appears far more significant.

Western Sydney goal keeper Jada Mathyssn-Whyman’s future looks bright. Gema Simon, Lydia Williams and Kyah Simon are confirmed stars in the Matildas’ squad, all representing their heritage and nation with class, dignity and grace each and every time they take to the pitch.

The path to self determination and inclusivity has been a long and arduous one for Australia’s indigenous population. Despite the best intentions of many, unlocking the secrets to opportunity, participation and continued involvement in organised sport has proven difficult.

As the Australian Indigenous Football Championships continue to grow year on year, one can only hope that more talent is exposed, recognised and supported in the future. Football is yet to harness a way to ensure all young Indigenous Australians experience the game, nor been able to provide the appropriate pathways for talent to develop as other local sports have.

It is something that the domestic governing bodies must continue to work towards.

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The 2023-24 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund to cater for participation boom

2023-24 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund

The Victorian Government’s 2023-24 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund is a state-wide investment, open until December 13, 2023.

This fund was created to adapt to the increasing need for infrastructure that is required for regular active sport and recreation.

Utilising three streams, sports clubs, facility managers and community organisations will all benefit from the following grants:

  • Community Facilities – up to $300,000
  • Community Sports Lighting – up to $250,000
  • Planning – up to $40,000

Led by Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence, the creation of infrastructure will be made possible by planners, architects, engineers, project managers,
builders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, facility managers and operational staff as part on the construction process. In turn, this has a direct link back to the local economy and offers hundreds of jobs.

For sporting & recreation clubs, sporting associations & leagues, educational institutions, not-for-profit community organisations, businesses and individuals looking to apply for the Local Sports Infrastructure Fund, an important note is that they cannot do so directly. Instead, they will coordinate this with Local Government Authorities and the Alpine Resorts Victoria who will apply on their behalf.

Applications close at 5pm on Wednesday December 13 2023 – with successful candidates of the 2023-24 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund announced from April 2024.

For full information and resources, you can view those here.

Football Queensland remain with Kappa for five more seasons until 2028

Football Queensland & Kappa partnership extension

Football Queensland have announced a five-year partnership extension with iconic international sports brand Kappa as its official apparel partner from 2024.

This relationship between the two parties has been very strong since they first partnered all the way back in 2017 and reinforces the support for football in Queensland that the brand has had.

Kappa has provided quality garments for some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Manchester City, Juventus, AC Milan and the Italian National team.

It’s a brand that was established in 1916 in Turin and eventually in 1978 they rebranded themselves to branch out as a sportwear brand where they focused purely on football-related products and designs.

For Football Queensland, they currently produce and provide quality on and off-field apparel for all Queensland State Representative teams including the state’s futsal representative squads. Kappa also provide on-field apparel for the game’s referees on the FQ website.

They also helped sponsor and start up the Kappa Women’s Super Cup and Kappa Pro Series tournaments that debuted in late 2021 and 2022 respectively for clubs to participate in across the state.

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci was extremely pleased to announce this partnership extension following Kappa’s amazing support.

“Football Queensland is incredibly excited to announce Kappa as our official apparel partner for the next five years following a competitive tender process which saw us receive 20 expressions of interest and 15 submissions of an extremely high quality,” Cavallucci said via Football Queensland press release.

“In their seven years as a Football Queensland partner, Kappa has provided fantastic support to Football Queensland, our clubs and the wider football community thanks to their quality of apparel, ability to deliver on their promises and the team’s unwavering commitment to customer service.

“We’ve built a wonderful working relationship with the team at Kappa thanks to their willingness to go above and beyond to deliver outcomes for our organisation and our game, and we’re delighted to continue working in partnership with them from next year.”

Kappa Australia Director Ze’ev Bogaty shared the same sentiment for the great relationship the two parties have created.

“Kappa is a strong supporter of football in Queensland and has been proud to invest in the game since the partnership with Football Queensland began in 2017,” Bogaty mentioned in the FQ press release.

“Some highlights of the partnership have included the development of the teal shirt for first year referees, witnessing Queensland state sides dominate on the national stage in Kappa kit, and the launch of the Kappa Women’s Super Cup and Kappa Pro Series tournaments.

“As we embark on another five years as the state’s official apparel partner and continue our close working relationship with Football Queensland, we look forward to contributing even more to the growth and success of football across the state.”

There is a shared goal of improving the grassroots game in Queensland from both parties and the track record of Kappa’s immense investment over the past seven years has shown that this extension will do wonders for Queensland football.

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