Home' Aurora : Aurora March 2015 Contents 17
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
SPORT'S A PASSPORT
Many doubted the reasons behind bringing
the 2015 Asian Cup to Newcastle. "It's
rugby league hear tland," they cried, "no
one will suppor t the games."
How wrong they were ! As univer sal as a
smile is, so too is football. In fact, the code
is played by 250 million player s in over
200 countries , making it the world's most
popular spor t. However, the Asian Cup
isn't the only ticket in town suppor ting the
round ball game.
Football has provided a natur al fit for
refugees and their suppor ter s since they
ar rived in Newcastle, but someone was
needed to organise events for hopeful
participants. In 2008, enter Shakila Kader,
a South African native of Indian parentage,
and Herber t Gatamah.
Shakila came to Australia during apar theid
(the system of racial segregation in South
Africa enforced through legislation by the
National Par ty governments, the ruling
par ty from 1948 to 1994). She didn't
believe such a system would ever be
overcome, but the end of the movement
has been the impetus for her drive to help
create a future for the refugees .
Shakila lived at a time when only elite
whites were allowed to play spor t, so she's
pa ssionate about African children mixing
with the locals and not taking things for
gr anted. She sees spor t as the passpor t for
integr ation here in the Hunter.
Buoyed by the fighting qualities of her
heroes, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi,
Shakila and Herber t established the Simba
Lions to play in the Nor ther n NSW
Football competition. Local player Adam
Mor as is the coach who led the team
last season to the minor premier ship but
sadly, a gr and final loss. The u /16s were
also successful under uni student/coach
Mamadou Ba .
Herber t, too, has been blown away by
the growth of Simba and by the way the
club has been "embr aced by the local
With success comes, not only an influx
of player s, but also spiralling costs for
transpor t to games , washing of the strips
and a home ground. TAFE, through the
assistance of its Multicultur al Liaison
Officer, Zachary Ekandi, has given the
club use of facilities at Tighes Hill and a
local company does a good deal on the
playing strips .
Due to success in 2014, Simba fir st and
reser ve gr ade teams have been promoted
to IDC Zone 2. The club has secured
funding, which, under the terms of the
gr ant, is used to conduct nutrition cour ses
leading to good health and wellbeing. The
club does not promote drinking alcohol
but does encour age all player s to be
diligent with budgeting and finance, thus
paying their way.
Local club, Broadmeadow Magic, has also
suppor ted Simba, offering development
to some outstanding player s. The dilemma
now for Simba is to attr act volunteer s to
meet the demands associated with the
Herber t doesn't want Simba to "slow
down because of too few helpers -- we
want to grow and suppor t the young
people of Newcastle as much as we can".
The club is gearing up for season 2015
and is currently playing trial matches to
a scer tain gr ading. Shakila would dearly love
to attract a women's side to the club and
that is one of her current goals.
Shakila and Herbert are passionate about
their roles and certainly encourage
Hunter residents to get involved with
the club. Whether you're a coach, driver,
strip washer or a supporter who can
offer assistance, please P Shakila 0409
153 912. Who knows -- playing a small
part in Simba's operation may contribute
to launching a player on the world stage!
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A member of
the Simba Lions
of Liam Beckett.
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