Cross Cultural Sporting Program


Over the past three years NATSICC has extended its focus to provide holistic programs that cater for the general well being of Indigenous people in addition to the core business of culture, spirituality and advocacy. The CCSP is a direct result of this shift.


The Cross Cultural Sporting Program has been held at Rostrevor College with the assistance of Caritas Australia, the SA Football Federation and the Catholic Education Office SA.


We would like to extend our thanks to all organisations that have supported the iniative as well as the Coaches that oversaw the training sessions.



The CCSP was created in response to feedback from our councillors that many States and Territories are experiencing tension between Indigenous and Refugee Youth. Upon further investigation, misunderstanding and misconception formed the basis for much of the tension. There was simply no means for the two groups to interact in a safe and friendly environment.


The CCSP was initially only planned as a one off program, but the outcomes and enthusiasm achieved in Indigenous and Refugee communities has been unexpected. As the program grows, so do the numbers and the positive changes in young people’s lives. We have been very lucky to be able to secure the services of several highly qualified and respected people in the Indigenous, refugee and footballing arenas, in particular Brian Corcoran (Formerly Player Assessment Manager - Port Adelaide Power and Assistant coach of N.T Thunder under 18 Representative side), Rasoul Ahmady (Afghani Refugee, Soccer Coach and representative Volleyballer) and John Lochowiak (Deputy Director Indgenous Sporting Academy Rostrevor).


Similarities shared by Indigenous and Refugee Youth:


Both are Minorities

Living in a foreign Western Environment

Strong cultural emphasis placed on family

Often English is a second language

Both share a deep love for sport

High unemployment

Low Socio Economic demographics

NATSICC felt that if we engaged the Refugee and Indigenous communities and encourage interaction in a safe and fun environment, walls would be broken down. Sport (in particular AFL Football and Soccer) provided an environment where all participants felt equal and comfortable.


The Training Sessions

Each session followed a particular format:


Introductions by Presenters

Outline of the night’s activities

Warm up Lap (used to determine naturally occurring groupings, allowing us to split the group accordingly)

AFL Session:


Break into groups of 10 (equal Indigenous and refugee) to work on fundamentals.




Fun non tackling games (handball, keep it off etc.)

Soccer Session


Break into different groups of 10 and focus on skills through games

Warm Down Lap

Share a meal together

At the completion of the training sessions, Indigenous and Afghani Speakers spoke about positive life choices, culture and the history of Refugee and Indigenous people (cameleers etc.). The core issue of spirituality was discussed as well as the importance of interfaith dialogue and common misconceptions around Catholic and Muslim values.



The outcomes from the session were immediate.


The warm up lap was segmented between groups whereas the warm down lap was mixed

We had several approaches from Refugee youth asking how they can get involved in AFL Football on a social level before playing competitively

Many of the Refugees mentioned that their only experience with Indigenous people was in the Detention Centres they were housed in upon arrival. Several of the detention centres are near Indigenous communities affected by alcohol and violence and this has shaped incorrect perceptions

The Indigenous participants were very welcoming of the refugee youth and were surprised of the similarities that both groups face in living in a new city


The Refugee group offered to cook a traditional meal for the Indigenous youth for the next session



John Lochowiak (Assistant Deputy – Rostrevor Indigenous Sports Academy) discussing the background of the project:

Two of the participants discussing the program:


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National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council

'The peak Indigenous advisory body to the Catholic Church'

80C Payneham Rd.

Stepney SA 5069   |   | 08 8363 2963