The AFL International Cup (AFL IC) is the pinnacle tournament for internationally-based countries that takes place every 3 years and was scheduled to commence over a 2 week block in the last week of July and the front-end of August on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

The Sri Lanka Lions debuted in 2017 and they would have loved to make a second appearance in 2020. Unfortunately they will need to wait.

Unfortunately the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for the AFL IC20 to go ahead as planned. Despite the inevitable cancellation occurring, we believe it’s an opportune time to reflect on the success of the tournament and the teams from Asia that have proudly and honourably represented their countries.

The China Dragons will be disappointed to not be continuing their International Cup progress in 2020.

The AFL IC was first held in 2002 and has had a reasonably strong Asian flavour ever since with the Japan Samurais participating in every AFL IC (2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 & 2017), whilst the China Dragons and the India Bombers have also been a regular feature (2008, 2011, 2014 & 2017).

The Japan Samurais haven’t missed an International Cup!

There has been an increase of Asian-based teams in recent tournaments as relative newcomers Indonesia Garudas (2014 & 2017), Pakistan Dragons (Men’s 2014 & 2017), Pakistan Shaheens (Women’s 2017) and the Sri Lanka Lions (2017) have featured, whilst at the other end of the spectrum the Timor Leste Crocs made their sole appearance in 2011.

The Indonesian Garudas are an incredible success story of South East Asian Footy.

AFL International & Community Football Manager, Andrew Hughes praised the efforts, passion and diversity that Asian representative teams and their ambassadors have added and brought to the International showcase tournament, by saying;

“The AFL International Cup is a special celebration of Australian Football with people coming from all corners of the globe to represent their country and share in their love for the game. The representation of teams from across Asia dating back to 2002 has showcased their unbridled passion for the game and added significantly to the diversity of the event. We are fortunate that many of those who have represented their country at an AFL International Cup have continued as great ambassadors to grow the game across Asia”. Hughes said.

Rivalries like Carlton vs Collingwood pale into insignificance when footy brings the India Bombers and Pakistan Dragons together!

We look forward to our Asian-based teams getting another crack at the AFL International Cup when it hopefully returns in 2021 or when time and opportunity permits!