What started as a group of friends playing football in a refugee camp in Nepal has become the Adelaide Dragon Football Club, a team of passionate players for whom football is not just a game, but a way of life.

Adelaide Dragon Football Club (ADFC) lead representative Bishal, like many of his team mates, spent more than 10 years living in a refugee camp in Nepal after being forcibly exiled from Bhutan.

“We lived amongst thousands of small huts cramped into a few hundred square metres,” explained Bishal. “It was depressing. Amongst all the chaos, grievance and harshness, as kids we had only one reason to smile, which was football. Football gave us joy, health, friends – a reason to be happy.

After our resettlement, here in Australia, we had everything yet nothing. We faced a massive cultural shock. Everything was completely strange to us. So, in that time of isolation and need, yet again football became part of our community engagement, interaction and communication.”

Bishal and his teammates then became the Adelaide Dragon Football Club.

“This football club is not only important to us, it is a way of our life,” said Bishal.

With support from HOST International’s Settlement, Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) Community Capacity Building programme based in Adelaide, the team has now finalised its constitution and is on its way to becoming an incorporated entity. This will provide the team with formal legal status as a sporting entity, allowing them to apply for grants and participate in and organise tournaments.

HOST International Capacity Development Coach Jogen Gazmere has worked closely with the ADFC working committee to support the team to achieve their goals.

“It is a moment of pride and joy to finally hold the ADFC constitution in hand,” said Suvash Rai, chairperson of the ADFC working committee. “HOST International has provided guidance and knowledge to help us to formalise our club, which will open many career doors for our team and for the coming generation of players.”

Adelaide Dragon Football Club Working Committee members

HOST International will continue to work with the ADFC to implement a community action plan to further develop the capacity of the ADFC leadership team. After incorporation, HOST will provide training to the leadership team covering child safety, work health and safety, governance and grant writing. HOST will also support ADFC to connect with service providers, stakeholders and local clubs to promote partnerships to strengthen the club and ensure sustainability.