The Australian Federal Police (AFP) teamed up with the Afghan-Australian Youth Association (AAYA) to host the first Afghan Youth Community (AYC) Cup on Sunday 25 February 2018 in Western Sydney.

With the support of the Sydney Thunder, the AAYA took on sides from the AFP and NSW Police Force, in a day of round-robin competitions. The event successfully built stronger ties between police and the Afghan-Australian community.

The Gala event began as an idea from one of the high profiled AAYA founding members, Hameed Kherkhah, along with the AFP Community Liaison Team Sydney Office team, who wanted a way to encourage the community to positively engage with and learn more about policing in Australia.

As a former Sydney Thunder player, Hameed enlisted his previous club’s support, with the Thunder, generously offering assistance to hold the Gala at one of their venues, Blacktown International Sports Park, and provided umpires and a scorer for the day.

Sydney Thunder had also arranged for the ‘Thunder Bus’ to be on site for the day, offering those attending a chance to test their cricket skills in an interactive visual display.

AFP State Manager New South Wales Commander Chris Sheehan said the day was about more than just getting runs on the score board.

AAYA Founder Hameed Kherkhah (in AAYA blue) with AFP Representative Rob Jackson (in dark blue polo), SMNSW CMD Chris Sheehan (in green and gold), and CLTSO Team Leader D/SGT Jeanette Boland, and AAYA President Zak Aziz (right).

“The day is a fantastic opportunity for the AFP to demonstrate that we’re approachable and we’re here to help and support the community. And hopefully it shows we’re not too bad at cricket either,” Commander Sheehan said.

AAYA founding member Hameed Kherkhah said that the event aims to build relationships between the community and police.

“We know that for some in our community, the idea of engaging with the police can feel quite intimidating and we want to change that,” Mr Kherkhah said.

“This is a great initiative for our youth as AAYA members have experienced that youth in our community feel that they are disadvantaged and excluded. We aim to change this perception and bridge the gap by organising events like these where youth and community members can interact with the police and feel included as part of society, be successful people and contribute in a positive way to the society,” he further added.

Lee Germon, General Manager Sydney Thunder said supporting the community is a key driver for the team.

“Sydney Thunder is proud to support community projects within our region of Western Sydney and Regional NSW.”

“Cricket is the perfect sport to bring communities together, we are pleased to support this great event alongside the Australian Federal Police and the Afghan-Australian Youth,” Mr Germon said.

The Ambassador for Afghanistan to Australia also dropped by from Canberra to show his support for the event and presented the medals and trophy for the event; including the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award.

For more of the award ceremony please click the link:

At these events everyone’s a winner, especially community, but the actual final table reflected the following outcome:

  1. AFP v AAYA2 – AAYA2 won
  2. AAYA1 v NSWP – AAYA1 won
  3. AAYA1 v AAYA2 – AAYA1 won
  4. NSWP v AFP – abandoned due to rain