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Sudanese-born footballer makes history in Australian league

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April 19, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Majak Daw will make history on Sunday when he steps out on the field, becoming the first Sudanese-born footballer to play in the Australian Football League (AFL).

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Majak Daw is the first Sudanese-born footballer to play in Australia’s professional league (HERALD SUN)

The former refugee, who fled Khartoum with his parents and eight brothers and sisters, will debut for North Melbourne against Brisbane in the Victorian state capital.

It’s a rare feel-good story out of Sudan, which usually hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Majak’s mother Elizabeth said the entire family would be at Etihad Stadium for the game, along with another 40 extended family and Sudanese community members.

The 22-year-old will also be cheered on by young Sudanese refugees from Melbourne’s gritty outer suburbs where Daw grew up and is already considered an inspiration.

“Coming from another country and having the experiences of what my family has gone through has shaped me. I’m very proud of my culture”, Daw said in an interview with the Herald Sun on Thursday.

“There are a lot of Sudanese community here in Melbourne. I think they look up to me and I take ownership to do the right thing”, he added.

Daw arrived in Australia in 2003 after the family spent three years in Egypt waiting for their visas to be processed. His family settled in the Wyndham Vale municipality, about 36km from inner-city Melbourne, and also home to a large number of newly-arrived Sudanese and first-generation immigrants from other Horn of Africa countries.

At the Wyndham Vale Football Club, Sudanese players made up half of the under-18 team last year.

Daw, who has been playing AFL since he was 14, was first inspired to take up the sport after a language tutor took him to watch a game.

Daw has been waiting three years and three games for his chance to start in the professional league.

His club announced his selection earlier this week via Twitter, using the tongue-in-cheek hashtag: “Majak Happens”.

However, Daw was making headlines even before his selection, becoming the first Sudanese Australian to be drafted to an AFL club after he was contracted to North Melbourne in 2009. His signing made news around the world, with his story aired on the BBC and Voice of America.

In an interview with BBC after his signing, Daw said he hoped his efforts would encourage other African migrants to integrate more into mainstream society.

“When I first started a lot of my Sudanese friends, the boys, they weren’t a fan of me playing footy, they tend to hang around the Sudanese people, just one area,” he said.

“I kept on telling them you need to get out and explore and know these people, because you’re going to be living here all your life - you’re not going to be with the Sudanese people the whole time”, he added.

Although Daw has been praised for his on-field brilliance, his progression to the national league was not without its challenges.

Early on, the rookie struggled to overcome his ungainly style, with coaches questioning whether he had what it takes to compete at the highest levels, while an off-field indiscretion last year, in which he lied about going partying while injured, led to a suspension.

The AFL is the most popular sporting league in Australia and currently consists of 18 teams spread over five states.

Also known as ‘Aussie rules’, the sport is renowned for its athleticism and high-energy physical contests.

Although Majak was born in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, his family are from the Dinka tribe, the largest ethnic group in South Sudan - which split from north Sudan in 2011.

(ST)

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  • 20 April 2013 06:19, by Ayuiu (SPLM in System)

    The only make pre-historic message are south sudanese from Warrap-State to Jonglei-State.

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    • 20 April 2013 06:56, by Mi diit

      That sport is not called football in Africa. Football is the game played with legs and not with hands. And besides the guy is a South Sudanese, not Sudanese. Or has he changed his nationality to Khartoum while in Australia?

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      • 20 April 2013 14:16, by Ayuiu (SPLM in System)

        Nonsene what do you mean by that game? Game is any type of atheletes call as game. If even sleeping it is a game even.

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    • 20 April 2013 07:15, by kamal

      Ayuiu your are fuken lire .luol Deng the NBA player is he from warap or jonglie , for your information all south Sudanes are capable of doing any thing don,t just open your ass like that

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      • 20 April 2013 09:34, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

        Kamal
        your says should make more conforntaton, you are seem big person in mind. Do not insult people honestlt.

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      • 20 April 2013 10:01, by Green is beautiful

        Hey My dear,
        Luong Deng of NBA is from NBeGs Aweil.
        Thxs

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      • 20 April 2013 10:12, by Madingthith

        Point of correction:
        Mr. Luol Deng is not from Warrap or Jonglei as someone put it, he is from Northern Bahr el Ghazal State - Aweil and his county is Aweil East and payam is Baac, so don,t mistaken him to be from Warrap/Jonglei, the guy is Aweilian.
        Late Manut Bol is exactely from Warrap state, especially Twic Mayardit County. This is the hailing state of the late.

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    • 20 April 2013 23:40, by Baring

      Well dne Dau. you are repersenting all of us South Sudanese not one only Dinka, i m prode of you keep up

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    • 21 April 2013 06:27, by siddaw

      Since when have the name "Majak Dau" been termed as Sudanese? It could have been understandable if he was named as Mohamed Abdalla Abdi but with Majak? Impossible. Arabs shouldn’t add credit to themselves for they didn’t saw.
      Above all. The picture shows that he’s a Rugby player. Not a footballer as the author stressed.

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    • 28 April 2013 08:46, by hotboy18

      This is a great inspiration for more Sudanese to become professional athletes worldwide.
      fat loss factor

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    • 28 April 2013 08:47, by hotboy18

      This is a great inspiration for more Sudanese to become professional athletes worldwide.
      fat loss factor

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  • 20 April 2013 06:27, by Kenyang

    Majak Dau is correct spelling and he’s a South Sudanese, not Sudanese. Anyway, we wish Majak all luck with his new career! He’ll definitely encourage other young immigrants....

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    • 20 April 2013 06:56, by Nuer Empire

      Dau is not a Sudanese.He is still under confusion of being a Sudanese in Australia.

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      • 20 April 2013 07:20, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

        Nuer Empir
        south sudan is not pure recognized globally, if even if south sudanese, he or she can be still native of republic of sudan nationally. We are still in forest man.

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        • 20 April 2013 08:09, by Malou Manyiel

          Ayiu,
          I disagree with you. We have been recognized by the FIFA which is the World Governing Body in sports. We are independence South Sudan and there is no where South Sudanese players play as Sudanese, not at all. Remember Guor Marial "the South Sudanese athelete" refused last year to run on behalf of Sudan. In the same way, Majak Daw cannot become Sudanese but South Sudanese.

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          • 20 April 2013 08:17, by Northern Sudanese

            Malou Manyiel
            If he considers himself Sudanese then its ok, no big deal! he himself claims to be Sudanese, so what a newly proffesional player in Australia doesn’t know his from the new Republic?
            he never even said anything about south sudan, he is probably from south kordofan or blue nile!

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            • 20 April 2013 08:48, by Malou Manyiel

              Nothern Sudanese,
              Majak Daw is a South Sudanese, not Sudanese from S. Kordufan or Blue Nile. He is a pure South Sudanese who plays Rugby, not a footballer as reported by the fake journalist who wrote this article. If you have doubt, go to his Face Book Fan Page for more details.

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              • 20 April 2013 10:47, by Northern Sudanese

                Malou Manyiel
                dude why you getting so mad? you think i even care about rugby??? lol
                I am just stating facts , he is no where mentioned to be south sudanese. everywhere it says from ’’south of sudan’’ meaning the southern regions of ’’Sudan’’ not the ’’Republic of South Sudan’’
                chill out :D , he is just a new rugby player, nothing really special......

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            • 20 April 2013 12:59, by South South

              Northern Sudanese,
              You gay Muslim who fuck himself 5 times a day by sticking your own finger deep into your ass has no business on this topic, shut your dirty ass up and leave us alone. We are South Sudanese, your gay president knows that and that why he came last week to Juba with his tail folded between his legs to beg for food for your mother. What more do you want to know South Sudan ?

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              • 20 April 2013 21:23, by Northern Sudanese

                South monkey
                your a homosexual monkey coming from a fat whore with no cloths.you and your family members shower under urine and stick your tongue deep inside a cows ass to eat its shit. yo mamas such a slut, that i could have been yo dad , too bad the guy before me had the right change. our president went to juba to feed you, at the moment, you can’t even feed halve your people hahaha poor monkey

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          • 20 April 2013 09:24, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

            Malou Manyiel
            Ok, try to depend have your says. Malou, south sudan is recognized in some other simple parts of administrations like FIFA in sport but in many others of administratives, we are not fully consider internationally. E.g in government sections and other potential fields.

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  • 20 April 2013 08:39, by western_southsudanese

    @ Northern sudanese
    Im from Melbourne, I personally know his cousin; Majak Daw was probably born in Khartoum but he considers himself to be fully south Sudanese because of his appearance but i agree that he is probably of blue bile origin.
    What im concerned about his the hysteria in the south sudanese community here in Melbourne; there seems to be a lot of media converge of him putting him.

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  • 20 April 2013 08:43, by western_southsudanese

    The media coverage of him has been detrimental to the identity of the south sudanese and sudanese in general here in Australia. The media has continued with the same stereotyple that people of african origin are only good at sport and not very intelligent in regards to other aspects of life including religion, education, crime and adapting to western life.

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  • 20 April 2013 08:49, by western_southsudanese

    I call myself western South Sudanese because last year I decided to think about the reputation of sudanese and south sudanese people in Australia. The result was not pleasing, we are one of the worst immigrant groups to arrive in australia and yes that includes northern sudanese people.

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  • 20 April 2013 08:59, by western_southsudanese

    Most of sudanese and south sudanese are working as blue-collar employeees and have over 4 children in a family, the children then go on to aspire to become rappers, models, actors, musicians knowingly that they will inevitably fail. The ones that do VCE and seek higher education usually also fail, although there are a few exceptions. The point is they do not value education.

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  • 20 April 2013 09:08, by western_southsudanese

    The only way for all Sudanese to be uplifted from poverty and become rich is to embrace education. Unfortunately the diaspora go on to become a drain on western society and desire to become athletes, rappers and models. The reason i call myself western south Sudanese is because i have been considered be very western by my fellow south sudanese...

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  • 20 April 2013 09:11, by western_southsudanese

    i go to melbourne uni (best in australia) studying commerce and the majority of my friends are white, im Dinka and have no desire in insinuating the usefulness of other tribes nor do i care about Majak Daws football career,and think he should not be considered a role model. I got called white so many times i decided to embrace the fact that i don’t fit into the typical stereotypes of black people.

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  • 20 April 2013 09:15, by western_southsudanese

    Im also an atheist which caused a lot of problems with my family. Anyways the point of my numerous comments is that I don’t think he should be considered a role model, im happy for his achievement but he has done nothing useful to anyone apart from kicking the ball around whilst running in a field.

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    • 20 April 2013 09:28, by Robot

      THIS PIECE IS DISGUSTING!!!!, WHO IS MAJAK AND WHY CALL HIMSELF A SUDANESE?????, ANYWAY GOOD LUCK.

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  • 20 April 2013 10:03, by Madingthith

    Dear Commentators,
    Let Majak Dau called himself sudanese, I cannot blame him being a South Sudanese one can easily deny it because South Sudan is a new country which has been recognized by wrongdoings, violation of human rights, corruptions, powers struggling and tribalism, therefore,you can be afraid to declare openly that I am a south Sudanese when you are out of this fail state called South

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  • 20 April 2013 10:07, by Madingthith

    There is no problem so long he is getting his HUGE dollars in football, we shall not be bothering from where he is coming from whether from Sudan or South Sudan he is now having another citizenship if you don,t know. Majak is Austrialian citizen by nationalitu right now together with his Mother and Siblings. He is not aware of South Sudan being Independent or not, his mind still in Sudan.

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    • 20 April 2013 10:53, by Northern Sudanese

      Madingthith
      he is only a nationalized Australian, not an Original Australian. his australian citizenship can be easily taken away from him, it is very normal for a person to have 2 nationalities.
      many Sudanese in the west have western passports but they are still Sudanese and entitled to vote for elections.

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      • 20 April 2013 13:24, by South South

        Northern Sudanese,
        You gay needs to talk about these in your poor country.
        1- People are walking on foot in Khartoum because no transportation. Poor country.
        2- Fake Arabs tribes of Bin Halba and the moon in South Darfur are killing each other.
        These are the things you should focus your dirty mouth on, leave South Sudan alone gay Muslim man

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        • 20 April 2013 21:27, by Northern Sudanese

          South monkey
          first of all, since when was there no transport in Khartoum? I know cow urine makes you illiterate, thats why over 70% of your people are illiterate! now tell me monkey, which monkey told you there is no transport in khartoum?
          how about you monkeys raiding each others cows and killing each other ey?
          I can see you enjoying cow urine shower hahahaa

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  • 20 April 2013 10:53, by steven

    This is good news. Nice to know that someone is so successful in his career.

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  • 20 April 2013 11:43, by Majongdit

    This kind of sports that require strength can not be managed by arabs. From the name alone, Majak Daw, you know he is a Dinka from the Republic of South Sudan. We had Manut and now we have Luol Deng, Wuor Marial, Mangar Makur Chuot, Atong (the african beauty queen who ranked 4th in the world’s beauty contest) and so many more. Our problem was the Sudan, give us a decade and a lot of things will ch

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  • 20 April 2013 11:49, by Majongdit

    Northern Sudanese,
    I want to tell you what Dr John Garang said on the signing of the CPA, "SUDAN WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!". We have taken our have of the old Sudan in your watchful faces and there’s nothing you can do about it. Now instead of you buying gas to maintain your refineries we have to open our oil to pass thru your desert for you to stretch out your dirty hands for some dollars.

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    • 20 April 2013 21:30, by Northern Sudanese

      dude just continue sticking your tongue deep inside your cows ass , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tRzM2tZFng&list=LL2iKEtJHxmKnnz5uF10axyA your getting funnier all the time
      its better to be in a developed desert than in a place where people shower under urine , have no food , electricity , buildings , hospitals , schools , have the highest illiteracy rate in the world and the list goes on!

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    • 20 April 2013 21:34, by Northern Sudanese

      Majongdit
      you haven’t ’’taken’’ a halve , you have ’’received’’ your quarter through a piece of paper! now if your oil passes through our lands or not its no problem, it only means an extra 2 years of economic deficit but for you it means over 98% of your economy fucked! you already can’t feed more than halve your people, let alone building infrastructure lol

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  • 20 April 2013 15:26, by Equality for all

    All in all Majak Dau or the Sudantribune editor could be the cause of this mess, I blame Dau for using Sudanese instead of south Sudanese, there is no way he can tell us that he is not aware of South Sudan independence, and this editors are to be blame because they just copy and paste which is not professional, they should have correct whatever mistakes have occurred. Majak is very buggers.

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    • 21 April 2013 02:11, by Jubawe

      Well Done Majak we’ll be in Stadium watching your first game even though am Collinwood fan but when comes to brother we behind you, my message to Australia media not to use Sudanese, you are south Sudan, I hope you will shape the image of south Sudanese from Australia Media and entire Australians plus the Government.

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  • 21 April 2013 04:18, by AUGUSTINO DENG

    Let us not tried to be confused of something irrelevant. It was stated in the article that Majak Dau was from Dinka, but we don’t know what Dinka ethnic is he belong? We have Dinka Bor, Dinka Malual of Aweil, Dinka Agaar, Dinka Twic of Bhar-el-ghazel, Dinka Ruweng of Biemnom, Dinka Panaruu of Panrieng, Dinka Ngok of Abyei, Dinka Tonj, Dinka Awan, and so forth. To me, Majak Dau is doing a great job

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  • 28 September 2016 17:03, by aaa auto spa

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