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English Section

Australian football extravaganza in Poland’s Nysa

04.08.2021 01:00
Australian football players from two European countries are gearing up to lock horns at an annual sporting extravaganza in the southwestern Polish town of Nysa.
An egg-shaped ball, eight goal posts, 70 players from two countries  AFL Europes annual Festival of Football is coming to Polands Nysa.
An egg-shaped ball, eight goal posts, 70 players from two countries — AFL Europe’s annual Festival of Football is coming to Poland's Nysa.Photo courtesy of AFL Polska

Players from four Polish teams—the Warsaw Boars, Warsaw Bisons, Fort Nysa and Wrocław Lions—and the Czech Republic’s Prague Dragons will face off in Nysa during an annual European festival of Australian football on August 14.

As well as a day full of footy, as the sport is affectionately called in Australia, Poland’s Australian Football League (AFL Polska) has planned a host of games and activities to make the festival a day of fun for the whole family.

It is also an important opportunity to popularise the sport and promote Aussie culture.

Poland has about 80 regular Australian football players representing four fully-fledged teams. Poland has about 80 regular Australian football players representing four fully-fledged teams. Photo courtesy of AFL Polska

Day full of footy

“About half a dozen games will be played during a single day, giving players the opportunity to get a lot of game time and match experience,” said Phil Forbes, AFL Polska’s founder and president, adding that anyone interested in finding out more about the sport or taking it up was encouraged to attend the Festival of Football as “it is a way for us to recruit new players.”

AFL Europe’s Festival of Football "is a great way to showcase Australian sport across the old continent and specifically in Poland,” Forbes also said.

“It gives us a chance to engage the wider community and brings together Poles, Australians and other foreigners who share a love of our game,” he added.

Mateusz Bartkiewicz of the Warsaw Bisons said Australian football "is a great sport" with a "wonderful atmosphere and fantastic people."

“After my first few training sessions I knew why it is so popular on the other side of the world,” Bartkiewicz said.

“The game is fast, the marks spectacular and the rules easy. Anyone can try and have a great time doing so,” he added.

Mateusz Latawski of Fort Nysa, the event’s hosts, said Australian football “is a combination of the best aspects of other sports: kicking like in soccer, tackling like in rugby, battles in the air like in basketball, shoving like in handball, and a lot of running to top. What’s not to love?”

He added: "Whenever someone new turns up to training, they’re hooked."

Ellipsoidal red ball

AFL Polska was founded after five friends met in Warsaw’s Pole Mokotowskie park for a casual kick-around in November 2018.

Since then, more than 150 people have come in contact with the ellipsoidal red ball.

Poland has about 80 regular players representing four fully-fledged teams, which have played in Berlin, Tallinn, Prague and at the Euro Cup in Sweden in 2019.

Australian football is traditionally played on a cricket pitch by 18 players. In Poland, nine-a-side teams play on a rugby field, kicking and hand-balling—which mostly looks like punching—an ellipsoidal ball.

Each end of the field has four goal posts. Kicking the ball through the middle posts is a goal worth six points, while getting it through the outer posts is called a behind and is worth one point.

It is a contact sport and a player moving with the ball can be tackled but the sport is known and loved for marks—spectacular catches of the ball kicked from great distances.

Australian football is traditionally played on a cricket pitch by 18 players. In Poland, nine-a-side teams play on a rugby field, kicking and hand-balling—which mostly looks like punching—an ellipsoidal ball. Australian football is traditionally played on a cricket pitch by 18 players. In Poland, nine-a-side teams play on a rugby field, kicking and hand-balling—which mostly looks like punching—an ellipsoidal ball. Photo courtesy of AFL Polska

More information at futbolaustralijski.pl

(gs)

Source: AFL Polska