After some of the public attacks on refugees from Africa which occurred in the lead up to last years election for allegedly ‘not integrating’, with the worst inferences being targeted at young males, it was good to see a story in today’s Australian newspaper highlighting the positive expectations for African refugees in the future of Australian soccer.
Four African refugees – from Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia and Liberia – are part of the Joeys, which is Australia’s under-17 side. The story also featured another black African player who migrated here from Zimbabwe, plus another from PNG. Football Federation Australia is trying to win the rights to stage the 2018 World Cup, and the chair of FFA is highlighting that players like these will be the future faces in our Socceroos team, alongside those from European countries that have traditionally made up the bulk of the team.
By coincidence, the same day this story appeared I attended a social soccer match in suburban Brisbane between teams made up of people from Liberia and Botswana – some migrants, some refugees, some students, some of them Australian citizens and most of the rest to become so in the future. These young Australians do a lot more than play soccer of course, but that is just one area where their skills and energies will be able to help improve our nation’s future.
RELATED: Click on this story to read of another African refugee who is representing Australia at this year’s paralympics.