For most cricket enthusiasts playing in a grand final on the hallowed turf of the MCG is what dreams are made of. However, for 12 boys from Minaret College in Springvale, their dreams were made reality when they migrated to Australia in search of a better life.
The year seven and eight students have come through much adversity to come away with a win in last week’s Cricket Victoria Super 8s Championships.
With most of the boys migrating to Australia less than five years ago from either war ravaged Afghanistan or Pakistan, their passion and dedication to cricket is not only remarkable, but incredibly inspiring too.
“I am very lucky to have such a good group of boys who are so interested in playing,” said Coach Mohamad Moustafa.
“They are very disciplined and dedicated,” he said.
Minaret’s youngest player, Osman Alam, is in grade six which shows the calibre of talent that is available for the school to utilise.
Repeating history created by the 2008 team that won the same title, Minaret is the only Islamic school in Victoria to hold the accolade of State final winners.
“The boys are always out on the field or in the nets training hard. They have been exposed to so much hardship that makes them want to work hard and be the best they can,” said Moustafa.
With limited sports facilities, Cricket Victoria played a large role in supporting the non traditional cricketing school with training nets, whilst also facilitating a series of coaching clinics for the boys to develop their skills.
“I have to admit, coming from Egyptian background, I didn’t really know much about cricket myself, but having so many students so interested in the game has made me want to learn,” said Moustafa.
The sport is also being embraced by the players’ parents and families too.
“Many parents come to watch the boys play and train, some of them even umpire,” said Moustafa.
One of Cricket Victoria’s objectives is to expand the width of the game to various ethnic groups that do not traditionally embrace cricket as their number one sport. This interest in the sport that is seemingly sweeping throughout some of Victoria’s most multicultural suburbs including Springvale, Dandenong and Footscray is indeed a positive step in getting more people exposed to cricket.
Minaret College’s successes do not end there. The school will also field another team this week for the grade five and six Kanga 8’s final of which Alam will also be a part of.