Indigenous teens can now play on

Coaching staff John Kalin and Shannon Gover with some of the members of the Maali Colts Football Club.
Coaching staff John Kalin and Shannon Gover with some of the members of the Maali Colts Football Club.

Shannon Gover and John Kalin, who have both previously been involved in Aboriginal football development, started the Maali Colts this year to give teenage players more opportunities.

‘Playing footy helps engage youth, get them involved in communities and feeling like valued members in society,’ Gover said.

He said the initial aim of the team was to help Aboriginal youth aged 16 to 20 to re-engage with the football community.

‘Circumstances lead to some of our kids leaving school early, sometimes peer pressure leads them to disengage with school and their sporting clubs in their middle teens,’ he said.

‘The aim is to see more of our youth stick at their footy to enjoy it and consider the pathway through to state leagues and the AFL for the lucky few.’

Gover said football could also link boys to other services such as health, employment and housing.

‘We want to see more kids playing sport to learn the teamwork aspects and commitment to training for improved health and life skills to give them confidence to decide on employment and future options,’ he said.

‘It’s about engaging youth and getting them involved and feeling like valued members of society.’

The team trains Tuesday and Thursday nights at Light Street Reserve in Dianella.

More players and equipment are needed, as well as a bus to help transport players to and from training.