A group of young Indigenous football players walked out with the Socceroo’s last night for the World Cup qualification match against Middle-Eastern rival Jordan.

This marked the beginning of the Indigenous Football Week, a fundraising initiative organised by the John Moriarty Foundation. The foundation aims to secure a future for Indigenous players in Australian football, as well as educate young players and their families.

As part of Indigenous Football Week, the Socceroos pledged to donate $90,000 in appearance fees from their game against Jordan to the foundation. The John Moriarty Foundation’s is shooting to have at least 2000 indigenous players from remote, rural areas to be involved in football on an elite level by 2018.

He said the fundraising campaign represented a move toward recognising the social and racial issues facing Indigenous Australians in remote areas. NASCA is a community-based organisation that works with kids from rural and remote areas as well as inner city kids. Hoff said the team at NASCA used sport as a hook to get young kids involved in many different activities that focus on education, employment and cultural pride.

“Getting young Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander players involved in sport on a national level often sheds light on other social and racial issues,” Hoff said.

“Sport is one of the only ways Aboriginal people are portrayed in a positive way in the mainstream media, so using sport to start promoting the strength of Indigenous cultures and the benefit of these in society is very effective.”

He said more Aboriginal sporting figures on the national level would help build better understanding of Aboriginal culture.

“The AFL’s National Vilification and Discrimination policies are really good at dealing with social and racial issues. Hopefully, this can transcend into other Australian national sporting leagues,” Hoff said.