The Australian Indigenous Football Championships will get underway tomorrow with Indigenous footballers from around the country travelling to Logan to compete in the first edition of the tournament.
Representatives from over 60 Indigenous communities are among the 26 teams registered to take part from New South Wales, Northern Territory and Queensland, with senior football administrators also in attendance from South Australia and Western Australia.
The opening ceremony at Logan Metro Sports Centre will feature up to 100 Indigenous coaches, team managers, physios and captains, together with sponsors and Indigenous leaders and performers.
The event is supported by Brisbane Roar, Football Brisbane and Football Queensland.
Co-directors of the Australian Indigenous Football Championships (AIFC) Lawrence Gilbert and Ramone Close believe that Australia’s premier Indigenous footballing event could unveil potential future stars of the Hyundai A-League and the Westfield W-League.
“If we can create an opportunity for one kid then that would be fantastic and be a dream come true for me,” Gilbert said.
“One of the tournament objectives was to increase football’s participation in Aboriginal communities by giving youngsters a reason to play football – I believe we will achieve this.”
Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chief Executive David Gallop AM congratulated the AIFC for organising this inaugural event and for gathering such broad support for the tournament.
“Lawrence and his team have worked extremely hard to get ready for the first Australian Indigenous Football Championships, building a great partnership with football stakeholders Brisbane Roar FC, Football Queensland and Football Brisbane,” Gallop said.
“FFA looks forward to the delivery of a first class event, and congratulates the AIFC for providing such a great opportunity to showcase the talents of Indigenous footballers.”
The Johnny Warren Football Foundation will also support the tournament with a Reconciliation match between the Indigenous community and the Queensland Police.
“Football has the special and magical ability to bring people together and build bridges where relationships in the past may have broken down,” Gilbert said.
“The tournament turns players into role models. When they go back to their communities where they are from, Arnhem Land, Darwin, remote Queensland, urban New South Wales and western New South Wales, they will go back and set new goals such as education attainment and healthy lifestyles.”
For more information, including competing teams and draws, please visit the Football Brisbane website or Australian Indigenous Football Championships Facebook page.