Sunday, October 21, 2007


Did you hear that? I think it was a dog whistle.

Football's friend at SBS Les Murray heard it:

Finally, speaking of youth, memo immigration minister Kevin Andrews, currently under fire for cutting back on the African refugee intake because they have ‘difficulty integrating’ (whatever that means. As a refugee and an immigrant, I can tell you it means nothing. Everyone integrates eventually).

The newly selected Joeys squad contains no less than three refugees from Africa: Million Butshiire from Congo, who’s been here five years; Kamal Ibrahim, who arrived from Ethiopia four years ago; and Tedros Yabio, also from Ethiopia, who’s lived here for 12 years.... These boys will soon wear the green and gold and maybe will go on to proudly represent Australia one day in the World Cup.

But Mr Andrews says there should be less of them. They can’t integrate.

Quote from Les Murray Opinion 13 October 2007
My experience coaching and watching youth football backs up Murray's viewpoint. The boys from the Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia (think of this part of eastern Africa as Victoria, NSW and Qld - about the same land mass anyway) have serious natural ability. They can run, run with the ball, they have insight into where to go off the ball, some are rough, some are soft - just like any kid.

One of their parents said to me at the end of a season, 'what I am I going to do with him now he only wants to play football.'

Well I think the Commonwealth needs to spend more on football, get these kids on the pitch and off the street. Perhaps instead of putting them in the spotlight for our own deficiencies.

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