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Australian Rules Football League hits DUT

Australian Rules Football League hits DUT

Media statement by Nomonde Mbadi, Executive Director of Corporate Affairs

Durban University of Technology is once again breaking boundaries with its new sports discovery, the Australian Rules Football League in which sports management students are avidly involved. Australian Rules Football was recently introduced and implemented by former Sports Management student, Bubele Ngangalaza.

After graduating with his diploma, Mr Ngangalaza had an opportunity to tour Australia. In Australia he was exposed to Australian Rules Football where his love for this major spectator sport was ignited. He soon became involved in the sport. First as a spectator, then as a player, and now as the diplomat for Australian Football League (AFL) in KwaZulu-Natal.

At first glance, this sport is quite confusing because it incorporates basketball and rugby elements. The primary aim is to score goals by kicking the ball between the middle of the goal posts of the opposing team. The winner is the team who has the highest total score at the end of the four-quarters except in special circumstances, if the score is tied then a draw is declared.

The methods of play are pretty simple and involve kicking, handballing – which is punching the ball to pass it – and running with the ball. If you are running with the ball, you must bounce or touch it on the ground every 15 metres but you cannot continuously hold the ball while running. There are no offside rules. In AFL, there is a term called the ‘mark’, this entails that players anywhere on the field who catch a ball from a kick are automatically awarded a free kick.

Any player interfering with marking or deliberately slowing the pace of the game will reward the opposition with free kicks, distance penalties or suspension, depending on the seriousness of the infringement. Australian Rules is a contact sport whereby players tackle using their hands or their whole body. However, pushing an opponent in the back is heatedly discouraged. The game’s main attributes as a spectator sport, are the frequent physical contests, aerial movements and ‘speckies’ – basically the fast movement of both the players and the ball.

Currently, Ngangalaza has managed to assemble a team in which some of the first year Sports Studies students have joined. The team holds training sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays from 13:00 to 15:00 at Curries Fountain.

Ngangalaza has also urged students to show interest in the sport, “this is an opportunity to start something new; there are opportunities if students commit themselves and DUT has potential”. He also stressed that once people show more interest they will introduce the sport in schools and they are also in the process of finding major sponsors.

The Head of DUT’s Sports Management Department, Bobby Maharaj, says that some people do not understand the finer points of the AFL. “We need to teach people that this is not soccer, it’s a relatively new sport in South Africa and it started in 2007,”said Maharaj.

“We need resources, like a proper kit so a person can look at the team and see it’s a DUT team representing DUT and Sports Management,” said Maharaj. In spite of the many challenges they are faced with in terms of resources Maharaj is optimistic they will succeed.

“If we can get students and administrators to commit we can get a good team,” added Maharaj.

Maharaj also highlighted that it is important to generate greater interest amongst the students of DUT. “I am confident we will find talented players and administrators,” said Maharaj.

For more information, please contact Bhekani Dlamini on 031 373 2845 to facilitte the interview.