MOUNT Isa Indigenous soccer players are fundraising and preparing for the Inaugural National Indigenous Football Championships to be held in Nowra.
North West Queensland Soccer Zone women’s chairwoman Kerrie Dempsey said 32 players along with coaches, managers and strappers will attend the championships held on November 3-5.
The coach of the teams is Concordia coach and Mount Isa Police Station sergeant Frank Lawler.
The teams are training three times a week despite the completion of the regular soccer season.
Dempsey said Lawler was good at coaching and already had taught the woman’s team new skills that will be employed in the championships.
But he was saving the announcement of who the captains will be until they are at the championships.
We’re just excited to get there...it’s a little bit daunting because no one is going to know who’s who on the other teams and what they are like.
“We’re just excited to get there,” Dempsey said.
“It’s a little bit daunting because no one is is going to know who’s who on the other teams and what they are like.
“We’re hoping to get a good draw.”
It’s a contrast to Mount Isa competitions where players know each team and ability of the players.
“We’re going to go down there and no one is going to know what each team’s like, or their standout players,” Dempsey said.
They did not know how many games they will play.
“We have got to have a coach and managers meeting so we can do the draw.” The draw is determined by host Wreck Bay Football Club on November 3.
The players were unused to playing with each other as one unit but they were dedicated, Dempsey said.
“The more time we have together in training the more we come together.”
They aimed to “stand out” at the championships.
A National men’s and women’s side will be picked out among all competing players to play in New Zealand.
There will also be a celebrity match at the championships with former rugby league players Anthony Mundine and George Rose already confirmed to compete.
Dempsey said the teams were busy fund-raising for flights and accommodation. They had worked for rotary, held a ‘barrel of booze’ raffle. Another raffle still being held was for a signed NRL All Stars jersey.
“We’re still looking for a willing sponsor for our team travel shirts,” she said.
The Inaugural National Indigenous Football Championships invitation to the North West Queensland Soccer Zone says “the world game meets the oldest living culture in the world.”
“Congratulations is extend to you for your selection as you have been selected based on your football skills, sportsmanship and also being a suitable candidate to represent our indigenous community.”