The SANFL runs Federally funded programs on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the far North of the State, and the Maralinga Tjarutja (MT) Lands on the West Coast.
This is part of the SANFL’s “whole of state’’ approach to the promotion of Aboriginal football in South Australia.
The programs focus on remote communities and manage the sustainability of the Far North West Sports League (FNWSL), with initiatives focused on at risk indigenous populations. These programs also assist Federal strategies regarding school attendance, health, wellbeing, sports and lifestyle messages to increase community participation.
They aim to improve education and governance within communities for the longevity of sporting groups, along with:
- Improve school attendance rates
- Increase community education outcomes
- Reduce risk of substance abuse
- Improve & increase access to sports
The annual Don McSweeney Aboriginal Lands Cup between the APY Lands and the MT Lands is considered an integral part of the SANFL’s Indigenous Programs. This program is managed by the SANFL through its Indigenous football development program as part of their ongoing community engagement process. Associated with the football development program are the development, mentoring and accreditation of Indigenous umpires, coaches, and team assistants which can become paid positions within the regional league.
A major success emanating from the annual football challenge is the significant increase in sporting development across Aboriginal lands in SA. The SANFL have led this development along with support from the Adelaide based AFL teams and there is now regular and well organised football and softball fixtures being played across the APY Lands.
This not only has the benefits of healthy and active lifestyles for the participants but has also stimulated a great local following and associated social interaction amongst communities.
SANFL also manages the Male Kickstart Under 15 State team, who compete in the National Male Diversity Championships in April each year, and the Female Kickstart Under 14 State team, who compete in the National Female Diversity Championships, held each year in September.