Kashif Bouns moved here nine years ago from Pakistan to study accounting following a path trodden by many of his countrymen. But that’s where the similarities finish.
Kashif Bouns worked in cricket after finishing his degree, an obvious move given his time in the subcontinent nation that is mad about the sport.
But Kashif’s eyes were drawn to something very different: Australian Rules.
There was no team for people like him though, so shortly after starting work at the AFL, he started a side himself.
Just like that the Pakistan Shaheens was born. The team's emblem is Pakistan’s famous peregrine falcon.
Kashif says the motivation to start the team was simple.
"I wanted to do something with my own people as well,” he says. “I worked with and welcomed anyone from any background, but this is me giving back to my own community.”
After initially struggling for numbers, the team is now well-stocked with players. While they have a few gaps in their footy knowledge, the team makes up for it with their boundless enthusiasm.
“They still keep doing my head in,” Kashif laughs. “They continue to infringe on the mark, or they don’t know what playing on means. A lot of the time they just throw the footy. I used to do a lot of clinics with primary school kids, and they’re just like that!”
They’ve been training by playing AFL Nines, a shortened form of the game with no tackling, in preparation for the real thing – the AFL’s International Cup. The cup, held in August, will see the team take on the likes of Ireland, Denmark, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and China.
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