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Spreading word about footy fever

Sowing the seeds of footy fever among the Goulburn Valley’s multicultural community is the task ahead for three newly-appointed Australian Football League ambassadors.

JOHN LEWIS April 12, 2014 3:21am

Encouraging others to enjoy game: Imran Syed has become an AFL ambassador.


 

Shepparton-based founder of the Sa’Daat Foundation Dr Imran Syed will bring the Aussie rules message to the Goulburn-Murray region, together with Shepparton Bears recruit Tong Tong, and Echuca Hospital’s Dr Navita Mysore.

The AFL’s People, Customer and Community general manager Dorothy Hisgrove said each ambassador had been selected based on their community leadership skills and enthusiasm to share their passion for AFL with diverse communities.

Dr Syed said he had never seen or heard of Australian Rules Football when he arrived in Australia from India six years ago.

‘‘I phoned my brothers to tell them of this strange game where they use head, hands and feet,’’ Dr Syed said.

‘‘Australians are known as cricket champions across the world. It took me a couple of months to find out about football.’’

Now however, Dr Syed is a confirmed — even one-eyed — Essendon fan.

‘‘If you support someone, you have to do it with passion,’’ he said.

Dr Syed said he planned to visit Goulburn Valley schools with a large multicultural student base.

He will also join a bus trip with people from various cultural backgrounds to watch an AFL game in Melbourne in July.

Naturally, it will be a Bombers match — Essendon v Western Bulldogs.

Before that however, an AFL Multicultural Day is planned for next week.

AFL stars Shaun Burgoyne, Patrick Karnezis and Paul Johnson will take part in a free coaching clinic at Kialla Park Reserve on Wednesday from 11am to 12.30pm.

AFL Goulburn Murray Region general manager Martin Gleeson said the clinic was aimed at boys and girls aged from eight to 15 years old. He said it was part of a larger plan to engage multicultural communities in and around Shepparton.

‘‘This is a great way to introduce the game to those who may have limited or no exposure,’’ Mr Gleeson said.

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