Bachar Houli Cup has provided hundreds of students from Islamic schools across Adelaide an opportunity to play and learn about Australian football rules, connect with each other, and discover their potentials.
Named after triple Richmond premiership player and devout Muslim Bachar Houli, the carnival is aimed at growing football participation for multicultural boys and girls in Years 5-8.
“What we’re doing is reaching into a new market, but it’s not just about football, it’s about connectivity, it’s about community, it’s about all coming together,” said Tom Javor, the SANFL’s zone manager for the North Adelaide and Central District clubs, ABC News reported.
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“We’ve gone from one to seven multicultural Auskick centers at the campuses so [that] children have a place to play football.”
The effort, which started as a brainchild of two teachers Katy Javor and Michael Triantafilakis, also aims to highlight football pathways from Islamic schools through to SANFL (South Australian National Football League) and AFL (Australian Football League).
About 300 students from Islamic schools were at the cup in Adelaide this year, with the carnival spread across two days, including 14 boys’ teams and 14 girls’ teams.
“It’s really exciting,” said Javor, a physical education teacher at the Australian Islamic College Adelaide.
“It’s not really about winning. You see the potential in kids that are there and they don’t even realize it.
“I’d like to see it continue to expand and it would be nice to see all the Islamic schools involved.”
Being the first devout Muslim to play in AFL, Houli created Bachar Houli Cup, a national competition for Islamic schools.
His foundation seeks to foster harmony and provide development opportunities for young Muslim people through sports.