Amren Abrahim is not even a teenager yet, but she’s already breaking down cultural barriers and demonstrating her potential as a future AFL star.
Arriving in Australia from Ethiopia in 2013, she’d never heard of the game and she admits her first impressions weren’t favorable.
“I watched it on TV and I was like okay, I have no idea what they are doing, they’re just running around and the umpires are calling some rules.”
But, a year later, she stumbled upon a clinic run by the North Melbourne Football Club.
It was being run by the club’s diversity and inclusion manager Bridget Barker, who said Amren’s eagerness to try something new showed she was a natural leader.
“She literally walked up to us and said, what’s this – can I join in? So a nine-year-old who’s able to do that with confidence is a nine-year-old who really has it within her, I think.”
And Amren hasn’t looked back.
Ms Barker said Amren has continued to develop her skills over the last three years, and that her determination to succeed in the sport has made her a role model to many other girls at the club.
“Her leadership also pertains to her resilience really. She’s moved to Australia, a brand new country, and has not been afraid to just get out there and give it a go.”
Her father had been hesitant to let her play.
As Amren Abrahim began devoting more time to the sport, she said her father feared that her studies and religious commitments would suffer as a result.
“Last year, and the year before that, he said: no, you have to stay home, and read the religious book the Qu’ran. He said you have to go to the Arabic schools and stay on your studies,” she told SBS World News.
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