Sudanese community members visit Essendon’s headquarters

By Laura Briggs

Shepparton South Sudanese community members have got an insight into the world of an AFL player through a recent visit to the Essendon Football Club headquarters.

The Ethnic Council of Shepparton, in partnership with the AFL Diversity Program and the Essendon Football Club saw 12 members of Shepparton’s South Sudanese community take part in the trip last Thursday.

Following a first time visit to an AFL football game earlier this season, the young Shepparton residents were ecstatic to be learning more about the Australian game and having a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

During their visit, the Shepparton residents met Essendon players Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Andrew McGrath, Darcy Parish and Tom Jok. They were also taken on a club tour and watched a team training session.  

Ethnic Council’s Sam Atukorala said players Tom and Anthony were incredibly generous,  spending a considerable amount of time with the Shepparton residents.

Team leader Wiek Dang said the trip was an exciting experience that inspired and encouraged the young people.

“There’s a barrier for the Sudanese and African communities, so having events like this creates that involvement and encourages those communities to be included and go out into the world.”

He said the trip gave the young Sudanese community a boost and an experience that they would never forget.

Mr Atukorala said the trip was only made possible by the generous support of AFL and Essendon Football Club community officer Sudip Chakraborty.