The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) was invited to the second National Indigenous Football Championships (NIFC) that took place in Nowra, Australia.
This report on that event was put together by Oscar Mussons, CONIFA Asia’s Business Development Manager, pictured in the middle of the photo to the right.
More than twenty Indigenous teams from across Australia competed for the title of Australian Indigenous Champions for both women’s and men’s categories. The event, held over a span of four days, was a great success and plans are underway to make next year’s championships even bigger.
Illawarra defeated Newcastle in the women’s final while Eora, from Sydney, defeated Brisbane to win the men’s championship.
CONIFA’s visit was hosted by the event director Bernie McLeod, a well-known and outspoken advocate for the Indigenous community. For years, McLeod has helped raise awareness of health issues among the Indigenous people by using football as a tool to get people active and motivated.
Our CONIFA representative, Oscar Mussons, had the privilege of sitting down with McLeod along with Phillip Pickering-Parker, director of Maori Football New Zealand (Aoteaora Football), where he had the chance to learn about the most recent developments of both associations and understand their future goals. Mussons presented CONIFA’s intentions to support both the association’s efforts to play football internationally, should they potentially become members of the CONIFA family and participate at upcoming tournaments.
The National Indigenous Football Championships already works in partnership with programs from the Johnny Warren Football Foundation and the John Moriarty Football (JMF) to identify Indigenous football talent.
CONIFA would like to thank Bernie McLeod, his family and championship organisers for their great hospitality as well as all of the stakeholders who made this championship possible. We look forward to working with them to ensure a bright future for the indigenous people of Australia and eager to support them participating in the international football arena in the near future.
“There can only be a couple of winners, but at the end of the day, it’s more about indigenous people as a whole winning together through the avenue of sport” Bernie McLeod