I had the great honour to be selected to help mentor, plan/team manage and assist in the 2015 Bachar Houli Academy Multicultural Program. It is a week long program, designed by Kashif Bouns, Ali Fahour and Bachar Houli himself, that strengthens leadership, promotes values and provides unique football development opportunities for young Muslim men aspiring to play VFL/AFL football.
The focus is on bringing young Muslim men into a talent program so they can experience the reality of an AFL player and become better individuals. The program does not just focus on skills, techniques and game strategies, but educating these young men about their faith and identity to bring out the best of themselves as good role model leaders in the community.
Participants were picked from all over Australia: In total, 35 boys were selected for the Academy. Uniform, playing strips, footballs and training gear were all supplied for each candidate representing the academy. The days consisted of morning training, afternoon training, recoveries sessions and matches. During the hard long week the boys had the opportunity to get their fitness tested at the elite club of Richmond F.C. and had a nutrition lecture, understanding the importance of healthy eating and hydration.
The boys and I attended a number of activities, which they had to work in teams to completed tasks. The Amazing Race around Melbourne was a fantastic opportunity to visit our beautiful inner city, as most of the boys had never been to all the destinations in the CBD before. We also visited the Islamic Museum of Australia, went to the Channel 7 studios and got the opportunity to be interviewed and read some news headlines. Our team met a lot of famous people along the way.
As the grand final was about to start, we were invited to the Governor’s House were honoured to see the AFL CUP before it got sent to the MCG to be uplifted by the 2015 Premiers. This was an amazing experience for me.
I felt very privileged to be part of this professional sporting experience and hope to see some of our upcoming generation stars from Al Siraat College be part of this excellent program, inshaAllah.