South Australia Police and African Youth in Harmony Day Soccer Tournament

In an event organised to commemorate Harmony Day, South Australia African United team emerged the proud winners of the Unity Shield soccer tournament after a 7 – 1 win over the South Australian Police (SAPOL) team at Barratt Reserve West Beach.

SALT Magazine was present at this annual event that has been going on for over three years in which the last match was a draw.

However this year the group of African players put together for the match proved too nimble and agile for the Police team who could not keep up with their swift manoeuvres. The first goal was scored in the first quarter of the match by the team captain Jimmy Okello after which the goals kept coming. The Police team managed to score a goal towards the end of the second half but by then the game was a foregone conclusion.

But it was all taken in good faith as the Police team were composed and friendly to the winning side. Senior Sergeant Adrien Jones, Deputy Chairman for SAPOL soccer team said the good thing about the match is it gives both the police and the African community the opportunity to play football which both teams love doing in a positive environment.

“It gives us the opportunity to interact especially for the African communities they may have not seen the police in a positive light before”

We asked Adrien whether it is not intimidating playing soccer with the police and he said not at all. “you need to ask your boys they already running rings around us right now they don’t seem to be afraid and it shouldn’t be the idea, with our guys you go in and cross that white line you play fair and hard and you come off the pitch and you shake hands and have a laugh” he said.

SAPOL African Liaison Officer Juma Abuyi said the tournament has helped to improve the relationship between police and the young people from the African community.  “Things are working and the young people are responding to our call”.

The team which was handpicked for the game played very well using coordinated passes and ball control to dominate the match. According to Jimmy Okello, the team captain for the African youth, they don’t usually play together as a team so it is surprising to see how well they complemented each other. “We played like we have known each other and been training for a long time”.

In relation to harmony day and the soccer initiative Jimmy said it is a good idea to bond with the police and show them another side of the young people from African communities. “It is not just about the winning it is all about the bonding and every one of us is a winner’

Overall the game was played in a good spirit and at the end of the game Superintendent James Branford thanked attendees and participants and presented the Unity Shield to the team captains of the winning team.

The tournament is jointly hosted by SAPOL, Families SA Refugee Services, Migrant Resource Centre and The African Communities Council of South Australia. The aim of the tournament is to build a cordial relationship between the police and the African community in South Australia.

Salt Magazine commends them for their efforts and hopes that the initiative will benefit us all.

SALT Magazine is an African-Australian Community News Magazine, created to provide print and online news and information on a broad range of issues of interest to the African community in Australia as well as to the wider general public. Our main aim is to act as a platform for the voice of the new and emerging African Australian communities, providing an African perspective to Australian topics. We wish to highlight African refugee success stories and encourage community development by exploring the challenges faced by new arrivals.

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