Diversity championships a huge opportunity for budding footballer

Kento Dobell will compete in the AFL National Diversity Championships for a second time as he chases his dream of playing top-level football.

YOUNG TALENT: Kento Dobell will play on a national stage as he chases an AFL dream. The 15-year-old moved to Australia when he was seven and fell in love with the game. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

YOUNG TALENT: Kento Dobell will play on a national stage as he chases an AFL dream. The 15-year-old moved to Australia when he was seven and fell in love with the game. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

After undertaking an intensive trial period, which included fitness testing, football games and camps, Dobell was selected as part of the 19-strong multicultural squad, All Nations.

There is also the Kickstart squad, which is made up of Indigenous players.

“I was very excited (upon hearing the news) because it is my second year going and I will be top age this year,” the 15-year-old said.

“Last year was a really good experience because you get all the best facilities, the coaches are great… everything is just amazing.”

Dobell, who is partly Japanese, moved to Australia at the age of seven and lived in Queensland and the Northern Territory before settling in Ballarat.

“He couldn’t speak English (when he arrived in Australia), football has helped him a lot in learning English when he first got here,” father Kelvin Dobell said.

“The whole program by the AFL is really terrific, they do a really good job… it is a multicultural thing, so it’s all about learning about other people’s cultures.”

Dobell arrives in Blacktown, New South Wales, on Saturday, before playing in a series of football games, which culminates in a finals series and grand final.

“It will help with getting recognition from (AFL) clubs, you get to be around ex-AFL players who coach us and it helps with your football and culture,” he said. 

Dobell plays for North Ballarat in the under-16s in the Ballarat Football League with his ultimate goal to play for an AFL club.