Longwood has embraced a diverse range of nationalities this season with a host of players from across the world.DAMEN FRANCIS May 22, 2014 3:05am
A Moroccan, an Israeli and a Sudanese walk into a football club.
They learn new skills, make new friends and, after finding themselves as welcome as any new players, decide to stay.
Longwood is fast becoming one of the most culturally diverse football clubs in country Victoria, with a host of Indigenous Australian and Tiwi Islanders also pulling on the Redlegs jumper this season.
Walid Cheiri hails from Morocco, Mohamed Almohamdawy from Israel and Zac Tong from Sudan.
The trio debuted in Longwood’s Kyabram District Football Association under-18 clash with Avenel two weeks ago and coach Ricki Shiner said the recruits had fitted in well.
‘‘Their kicking is probably the biggest adjustment they’ve got to make, but they pick up the skills very quickly,’’ Shiner said.
‘‘All the kids have surprised me how quickly they’ve taken it on. In terms of understanding the rules of the game, they seem very keen and switched on.
‘‘Their English is quite good and you’ve got to be mindful of the different cultures and that stuff, but a lot of kids now are mingling with different ethnic groups more regularly than we probably did growing up.
‘‘They’re all very accepting of them and keen to help them out and for them to understand the game.’’
Longwood has not fielded an under-18 team in recent years and a discussion with senior coach Matthew Chilcott before the season led Shiner to approach the Ethnic Council of Shepparton.
The club met with members of multicultural communities and young senior players Blade Larkins and Clinton Tozer helped out at an AFL multicultural gala day AFL Goulburn Murray run.
Cheiri, Almohamdawy and Tong expressed an interest in giving the sport a try and Longwood was all too happy to accommodate.
‘‘There’s a lot of clubs that are struggling for numbers to actually get a side on the ground, so I’m rapt we’ve got an under-18 side up,’’ Shiner said.
‘‘I’m also pretty happy that we’ve got some new Australians involved and kids that actually weren’t playing football before or had walked away from football, so we’ve pretty much built a side from scratch without robbing any other clubs and we’re proud of that.
‘‘Hopefully you get the flow on effects where the kids filter though into your reserves and senior sides, which we’re already seeing, so it’s about making clubs sustainable.’’
Neighbourhood Watch Week will start with a sizzle — a sausage sizzle to be precise — at Sevens Creek Dve in Kialla.
Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) and other emergency services are preparing for the next round of wild weather in the north-east.
It was clear blue skies last Tuesday for the official launch of the Gargarro (pronounced Ga-gar-ro) Botanic Gardens in Girgarre.
SNAKES will be coming out of hiding as the weather warms up.
KATH Bubb has been recognised for 50 years of service with the Ballendella Red Cross.
IT EXPERTISE in Kyabram has received recognition after Advance Computing won a Microsoft Australia Partner Award in the excellence in regional area customer category.
Seymour A and B-grade in season decider
Extensive rainfall in the Southern Riverina is having a negative impact on farming.
McIvor Creek – in and around Heathcote – has gone over its banks with all our recent rain, flooding streets and causing closures and detours.
Yarroweyah's Katie Anderson will be heading to Wisconsin in the United States after winning the Dairy Youth Travel Scholarship.
After a 30-year career as an accountant in Deniliquin, Peter Skipworth officially retires today.
Tuesday, August 16
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.