The Arafura Games will kick off with a demonstration from our two national Indigenous soccer teams.
The Indigenous Roos (men’s) and the Indigenous Koalas (women’s) will feature in a series of showcase matches before the opening ceremony at the end of this month.
Soccer is not a competitive event at the Games, which are back after an eight-year hiatus.
The Liberal government in 2012 scrapped the event, saying the Games were not receiving the desired attention from Asian nations.
Last year, the current Labor government announced the Games would return, bringing 30 countries to Darwin to compete across 17 sports.
Soccer didn’t make the cut, but Football NT CEO Bruce Stalder said the exhibition matches are a good way to showcase the game in the Top End.
“Having the Indigenous Roos and the Koalas here in Darwin to launch our football program is a real coup for local football and for the Games themselves,” Mr Stalder said.
Athletes representing the Roos and Koalas include those who were discovered during the National Indigenous Football Championships in 2018.
“They are also a chance for Territorians to see national sports stars in action, people they would not normally have the chance to see play unless they went interstate,” Minister for the Arafura Games, Ken Vowles, said.
The Koalas and the Roos will play in Darwin on April 25th and 27th. The opening ceremony for the Arafura games is on April 26th and the event runs until May 4th.
By Keiran Deck