Most Australian football fans know Rahmat Akbari as an attacking midfielder for A-League club Brisbane Roar.
But to the members at Bethania Rams, a grassroots club on Brisbane’s southside, Akbari is just part of their community; a volunteer coach who juggles dual responsibilities with the Senior Men’s and U15 boys teams.
“Rahmat is very approachable. If you didn’t know his reputation, you’d think he was just another young guy down there coaching,” said Bethania Rams president Adrian Pearce.
Akbari’s connection with Bethania Rams was forged through the local Hazara Afghan community to which he belongs.
The Hazara are a persecuted ethnic minority in Afghanistan. Over the past two decades, many Hazaras – including Akbari’s family – have settled in Brisbane.
Thanks to the Rams’ geographic location and inclusive culture, Pearce says Hazara Afghans now make up roughly 10 per cent of the club from juniors through to seniors.
Akbari, 21, lives in Logan, one suburb over from Bethania Rams’ home ground Opperman Park.
“A couple of my mates who I’ve known all my life were playing for Bethania last season, and they asked me to come and coach them,” he explained.
Read the full story via Football Queensland
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