First Nations Football Festival returns


“The world game meets the oldest living culture”, that’s the message local organisers of the First Nations Festival kicking off this Thursday are pushing as the popular two-day event returns at the South Nowra Sporting Complex.

Formerly known as the National Indigenous Football Championships, the community of Yuin and Dharwal Nations are excited to welcome back everyone following a two-year absence due to COVID lockdowns and restrictions.

“After two years of not being able to host the event, it comes with great joy that we are back and are giving a platform for our Indigenous footballers to showcase their talent across all ages in NSW,” said First Nations Festival Director Bernie McLeod.

“From the time all of the community teams arrive, it’ll bring so much joy to not just myself but my committee that all this hard work has paid off.”

This year’s instalment promises to be one of the biggest and best yet as tournaments featuring Men’s and Women’s teams as well as the Under 14 Boys and Girls will be taking centre stage.

A special celebrity match will also feature with former Socceroos, First Nations role models, Football Australia and Football NSW staff as well as non-Indigenous athletes set to take part.

The popular Elders Walking Football match and an Under 8’s game will also take place as part of the half-time entertainment during the course of the two-day event.

Former Socceroo Jade North will once again run his ‘Kickin with a Cuz’ concept while there will be Football NSW, Wollongong Wolves and Sydney FC clinics set to run also.

The Welcome to Country and Opening Ceremony will commence tomorrow (Wednesday 2nd November), with competition games kicking off on Thursday and the event coming to an end on Saturday with the finals and a Gala Dinner.

“The purpose of the event is to bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities from around NSW and offer a first-class football tournament,” said Football NSW’s Inclusion and Diversity Coordinator Annabel Meadley.

“The tournament’s primary focus will be to work towards creating career pathways for First Nations football players and coaches, as well as increase participation and promote healthy lifestyles.”