Main content

More than a game

PRESS PLAY to watch coverage from the Dosti Cup. Avalon Airport Oval hosted the Dosti Cup with the Bharat Football Club representing India and the Shaheens Sporting & Social Club representing Pakistan.

It was a triumph that broke a three-year winning streak when the Bharat Bombers representing India, claimed the Dosti Cup championship over the Pakistani-affiliated Shaheens Sporting and Social Club.

“There’s a huge rivalry between India and Pakistan,” coach of the Bharat Bombers, Sana Singh, told North Media after holding the prized trophy aloft for the first time.

While the countries may not always see eye-to-eye, the game at Avalon Airport Oval in Wyndham was all about breaking down barriers.

“Dosti means ‘friendship’, so we are trying to bring the two communities together and hopefully play a fair and close game of Aussie rules … though I hope India wins,” Singh added laughing.

This year the Dosti Cup also represented the competing countries’ respective independence days, India being on August 15 and Pakistan August 14.

“For the last year we’ve been working on putting a strong team together and I think we’ve done that this time. Hopefully we can get our hands on the cup,” Singh told North media.

 Although the Bombers won by 50-points, 78 to 28, the purpose of the game went deeper than what the scoreboard displayed after the final siren.

“The idea behind the Dosti Cup is to bring together two countries who have been arch rivals, and have a fun game that celebrates friendship and harmony,” Syed Ariz, director of operations for the Shaheens Sporting and Social Club said.

“I think sport is a great way to bring people together and to promote that sense of belonging,” said Singh.

“All of our players have grown up in different communities and friend circles, and coming together to play footy provides a commonality for them all, they all share something … it’s something special.”

Though Singh has Indian heritage, he was born in Australia and grew up playing the national game. But for many of his teammates, who moved to Australia from India, joining the Bombers was a way to further immerse themselves in Australian culture.

“A lot of the new Indians coming into the country are falling in love with the game too,” Singh added.

“My brother-in-law can’t watch cricket anymore, he’s madly in love with footy. It’s definitely gaining popularity in the Indian community.”

For team Pakistan, the result wasn’t ideal. But regardless, both teams walked away knowing they went out and represented their community with pride and celebrated friendship, and Australia’s national game with everything they had.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs