Photos (Top to Bottom): Glenn Thompson and granddaughters at The Coffee Club in Glenorchy today [PlessPix]; A page from the Northern Territory magazine "Intensity Sport Magazine" featuring some of Borroloola's Indigenous players.
Glenn Thompson, the Tasmanian running football in the Northern Territory town of Borroloola, is back in Hobart with his three granddaughters.
He will stay for only a few weeks, however, before returning home as 2011 will be a busy year for football.
ESPN will film a documentary about football in the town and women’s teams will come from the Tiwi Islands, off the coast of the Northern Territory, for a tournament to mark the opening of Borroloola’s new ground.
Thompson also took a team from the town to a youth tournament in Singapore in July, where they played against three S-League opponents.
“Things are going really well in Borroloola and we’re really looking forward to 2011,” Thompson said today.
“There’s a couple of teams coming down for the opening of our new ground.
“There’s an Indigenous team from the Tiwi Islands, a girls’ side, who will, hopefully, be playing against our girls’ side, and that will be documented by ESPN as part of a programme they’re doing in relation to the Matildas qualifying for next year’s Women’s World Cup in Germany.
“We hope to have that in late April, after the Big Wet.”
Several players from Thompson’s Borroloola boys’ side caught the eye in Singapore and a couple of them are now at college in Darwin and being pursued by club sides there.
“In Singapore, our senior men’s team played three games against Geylang United, Home United and the Army,” Thompson said.
“Our best performance was in one of the games where it was nil-all at half-time. That half was the best football we’ve put together.
“We ended losing 3-1, but our captain, Alistair Evans, played an absolute blinder of a game and scored our goal.
“He attracted a lot of interest from the Singapore teams.”
Thompson took his teams to last year’s Indigenous carnival in Townsville and was delighted to see a Tasmanian team competing.
That tournament has been put on hold this year, which is disappointing as the game needs to tap into the Indigenous community.
Thompson has always had a dream of bringing his Borroloola men’s and women’s teams to Tasmania on tour.
“I’m still hoping that John Moriarty, who is our patron and one of the FFA’s ambassadors for Indigenous football, is still working on that,” Thompson said.
“We’re hoping that can come off this coming year as well as that would be great.”
Thompson has often watched the local Summer Cup competition when he is back in Tasmania, but he is unlikely to watch the 2011 tournament as he has to return early to the Northern Territory.
But, he tells a marvellous story about the world game and of how it reaches people all over Australia.
While standing in a shop in Borroloola recently, a young African man came in and the two started talking about football.
It turned out that the African man, who was in Borroloola as part of an army exercise, was from Tasmania, where he played football.
Thompson asked him whether he played for Hobart United, and you could have knocked him over with a feather after that question.
He said he did indeed play for Hobart United and he asked Thompson how he knew of the club, so Thompson invited him to his home and, to the man’s astonishment, pulled out a Hobart United calendar, and there was the man in a team photo.
The African man’s commanding officer had accompanied him to Thompson’s home and was stunned that one of his soldiers was in a team photo of a club in Tasmania.