South African Lions Heading to Jamestown

With the AFL’s International Cup set to commence in Melbourne later this month, the South African side “the Lions” are landing in Jamestown this week for a training camp. Current Jamestown Peterborough Magpies Coach and former North Adelaide and South Australian State of Origin Star Mick Redden will also provide the players with some tutelage.

Last winter saw South African National Team representatives Thembinkosi “Dhino” Zwane and Thabiso Phakedi based in Jamestown, as part of a unique opportunity in an AFL South Africa exchange program titled “Up There Down Under”. As part of the program, they played for the Jamestown-Peterborough Magpies, whilst gaining valuable work experience, particularly on local farms. It was the brain child of former AFL South Africa Football Operations Chief and current consultant to the organisation, Tony Kelly  who grew up in Jamestown and still has much family residing in the area.

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As part of the camp, the players will arrive in Jamestown Friday night, before heading North to Orroroo the following day to watch the clash between the Roos and the Magpies. That evening, a community event will be hosted at the Jamestown Football Complex, with teas and other catering available. It will offer people a chance to grab an insight in to the team’s journey and the growth of Australian Football in the Rainbow Nation.

On the Sunday the squad will be split in two and will play an internal trial at the Jamestown Oval, with that match due to commence around 1pm, likely following a Junior match as a curtain raiser. This will be a great opportunity for the community to see how the game is played at International level. South Australian Tour facilitator Chris Stacey said “it will be great to be able to host the South Africans and I’m sure the community will be excited to be able to see what they have to offer. It will also be good to see Dhino and Thabiso again, who managed to blend in so well with the local community”.

The squad will remain in Jamestown early in the week, conducting school football clinics and utilising local facilities including the Hydrotherapy Pool, Gymnasium and the Community Stadium (The Big Shed). Wednesday will see the squad head off to Adelaide for a match against an Indigenous Youth side at Alberton Oval before they head across to Melbourne, with their first match against Pakistan on Sunday the 10th of August. This year will see the final held at the MCG on Saturday the 23rd of August as a curtain raiser to the blockbuster Hawthorn versus Geelong match that night.

Some of the South African players who have been fortunate enough to be selected for the tour, also experienced a visit from the Hawthorn Football Club, who ventured across to South Africa as part of their pre season program.

About James Lang

A committed volunteer who loves Australia's game. Based in Jamestown in South Australia's Mid North, the birthplace of RM Williams, I work closely with the local Football, Netball and Cricket clubs. A rewarding involvement has been in establishing the social interaction group Backyard Football League Australia.

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