TWO Aussie rules players from a Mirrabooka football team have become the first African-born players to represent WA at the national carnival in Queensland.
Akoor Dhelbai and Scovia Anzoa (14), of South Sudanese descent, began playing footy for Edmund Rice Centre WA’s multicultural team Butler Falcons in 2013.
The duo moved on to take up leadership and coaching roles at the Butler Falcons and the Joondalup Falcons Women’s Football Club.
They joined a 24-member squad and competed at the National Under-15s Girls AFL Carnival in Maroochydore, Queensland.
Scovia said she was delighted to represent WA despite her background.
“Personally I was surprised as I was competing for a spot against very talented and experienced girls who not only were focused, but determined to get in which was very intimidating,” she said.
State coach Oliver Beath said the girls were a “welcome addition” to the squad.
“They bring enthusiasm and energy to the group and are very coachable,” he said.
“They work hard to understand the strategies and tactics we are teaching them and are keen to learn in an effort to play to the best of their ability.”
AFL national diversity manager Ali Fahour said it was great to see the diversity of players from multicultural backgrounds in the team.
“The Edmund Rice Centre is a great vehicle to engaging future stars of our game and we look forward to the young girls making the Women’s League in the near future,” he said.