After their Dubai training session on the 26th of December, Bachar Houli and the young players took the opportunity to meet and greet eager fans Charles Bourke and Caspar McLeod. (Photo: Kendyl Blackburn)
Though some AFL players choose to spend their off-season relaxing before getting stuck into preseason training, Bachar Houli chose to spend his taking 10 of the best AFL prospects from his high-performance academy to the Middle East.
Bachar Houli along with former AFL player Ahmed Saad, other trainers and ex-football players, held training sessions for the Bachar Houli Academy teenagers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The Bachar Houli Academy is “a high-performance football talent program for emerging junior players”, focusing on “strengthening players leadership abilities, building their brotherhood and providing a unique football development opportunity for young Muslim men”.
According to an article in the local newspaper The National, their trip to the UAE was also about strengthening bonds and their self-identities.
“We see many examples of the challenges those young men are going through, so we try to help them and steer them in the right direction,” Houli told The National.
“The most important thing is to be proud of your identity and not shy away from that.”
In September last year, Bachar Houli won his second premiership medal in the Richmond Tigers’ AFL grand final smashing of the Greater Western Sydney Giants. Their premiership defence kicks off in late March against Carlton.