India and Pakistan meet in Dosti Cup


Clash on 16 August hailed as one of the most awaited games of the AFL International Cup

The 2014 AFL International Cup clash between Pakistan and India – hailed as the Dosti (Friendship) Cup — on Saturday, August 16, is among the most awaited matches of the season.

The sporting rivalry between Pakistan and India – usually waged on the cricket field or hockey pitch – is as fierce as any around the globe and makes Carlton v Collingwood look like a match between two old friends.

The Indo-Pak clash is one of the highlights of the 2014 AFL International Cup (August 9-23) and will be the first ever Australian football meeting between the two countries.

While the skills of both sides may be still developing, a huge crowd is expected to attend the game, scheduled for 4.00pm at Highgate Reserve, Craigieburn, which will directly follow the Essendon v Richmond Peter Jackson VFL match.

Both Essendon FC and Richmond Fc have strong ties with the Indian community but it’s the Tigers’ colours that the team’s players will wear during the tournament.

The Pakistan side will wear a traditional green strip and are known as the Shaheens, which is the Persian word for Falcons.

While India has competed at the International Cup in previous years, this is the first time Pakistan will be represented.

To celebrate this historic match, dignitaries from both country’s consulates and leaders of both communities have been invited to attend.

The day will also see Pakistani and Indian food on offer and include dancing, and an exhibition kabaddi match (traditional sub-continent sport that involves aspects of wrestling).

AFL Victoria engagement manager Xavier Moloney said the International Cup match was another example of how football can break down barriers between cultures.

“To have a Pakistan v India game as part of the International Cup is really exciting and is part of an overall push from AFL Victoria to introduce the game to culturally diverse sections of Melbourne,” said Moloney.

“We’ve had in a place a steering committee for a few months now with members representing Richmond FC, Essendon FC, the AFL, AFL Victoria and members of the Indian and Pakistani communities, to make sure the event is a success,” said Moloney, who added that the support of Essendon FC and Richmond FC in this venture has been fantastic with both clubs embracing the chance to engage with the multicultural community.

AFL Victoria Multicultural Coordinator Kashif Bouns, who was also the founder of the Pakistan team, said both sides would be desperate for victory.

“The Dosti Cup is about bringing the Indian and Pakistani communities together and generating positive relationships through football but victory is still very much the aim for both sides,” Bouns said.

“Growing up in Pakistan, when we played India in anything it was always a huge event, where people would take the day off to stay home and watch whatever sport was on offer.Hopefully we will have a large crowd in attendance at Highgate Reserve on August 16 and throughout the International Cup at all of Pakistan’s and India’s games,” he added.

Twenty-five teams, 18 men’s and seven women’s, will take part in the 2014 version of the AFL International Cup, the fifth time the competition has been held.

The majority of games will take place at Royal Park in Carlton before the men’s Grand Final is fought out at the MCG on Saturday, 23 August.

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