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Khamis: 'Football made me feel involved'

The Drive | Moz and Buku Watch as Moz gives new recruit Buku a lift into the club to get to know him and help introduce Buku into the Bulldogs family

Western Bulldogs draftee Buku Khamis’ memories of his childhood in South Sudan are hazy.

He can recall how the sand would burn his feet as he played outside in the heat but he doesn’t remember much more from back home.

The 18-year-old was only six when he migrated to Australia with his parents and siblings.

His journey across the globe would be his first time on a plane.

“I don’t remember too much from living there but I do remember coming on the plane to Australia not knowing where we were going or what was going on,” he told AFLPlayers.com.au during his first AFL pre-season.

“When we landed at the airport it was dark so I couldn’t get a view of Melbourne. I kind of freaked out because it was all new to me.”

Khamis faced challenges as his family settled into life in Australia.

The language barrier made assimilating difficult but once he learnt English things changed and Khamis felt he adapted well to Australian culture.

The Western Jets product didn’t start playing football until he was 12, joining his local club St Albans after attending a Western Bulldogs game as part of a school excursion.

“Playing football really helped me open up to other people and make friends,” he said.

“It gave me something that I enjoyed which helped me to express myself more. Football made me feel involved and like I was a part of something.”

After joining St Albans in under-12s, Khamis’ athleticism attracted the attention of TAC Cup recruiters and he was invited to participate in Western Jets development squad.

He then joined the Western Jets program, playing in the National Championships at both under-16 and under-18 level, earning All-Australian selection in his top-age year.

His link to the Western Bulldogs has existed long before being drafted.

Keen to read more? Click here to AFL Players' full interview with Buku.