Professional Footballers Australia (the PFA) will provide community leadership opportunities for its members and fundraising for the African Nations Cup Victoria this Australia Day long weekend.

Hosted by Melbourne-based charity Football Empowerment, the tournament will run from Saturday to Monday at Kurunjang Recreation Reserve in Melbourne.

Celebrating Victoria’s diverse African-Australian communities by bringing together talented young footballers from across the state, the event provides individuals from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds with a platform to showcase their football talents.

Melbourne-based PFA members and representatives will attend as part of the PFA’s Community Leadership Program, designed to provide professional players the opportunity to harness the transformative power of football within their own communities.

“This is a great opportunity for our members to support a wonderful initiative,” PFA Chief Executive John Didulica said. “We’re proud to partner with Football Empowerment to make a meaningful impact within this community; it demonstrates the power of football in delivering beneficial outcomes to disadvantaged youth.” 

Football Empowerment will host 22 teams, across men’s, women’s and junior categories and the organisers are expecting over 600 attendees for the tournament.

Football Empowerment’s Tom Yabio said that the tournament was designed to provide positive social outcomes, as well as opportunities for young African-Australians in the community.

“These are the types of professional opportunities we want to expose passionate and driven young soccer players to,” Yabio said. “Setting up this platform will give young African-Australian soccer players opportunities for potential selection or at least recognition from semi-professional teams.”

To help raise funds in the operation of the tournament, the PFA has auctioned a signed Socceroos jersey.

About Football Empowerment 

Established in 2016, Football Empowerment (“FE”) is a not-for-profit organisation based in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. Using soccer as a ‘vehicle’, FE run initiatives aiming to address social issues facing young people from disadvantaged communities. What makes FE unique is that the organisation was founded by a group of young people who migrated to Australia as Refugees, who continue to actively play soccer and who also reside in the western suburbs where most FE programs are delivered.

As part of FE’s ongoing commitment to supporting our local community, we deliver free soccer programs designed to improve the health and well-being of young people from refugee, migrant, CALD and low socioeconomic backgrounds. FE soccer programs uses a capacity building approach to engage and mentor the participants in order to provide direct opportunities to up-skill and develop future pathways.