Our Mazenod Panthers teams cater for all people with an intellectual disability regardless of ability, in one of our three teams playing in the Football Integration Development Association (FIDA), in a competition of 16 clubs throughout Victoria. Games are played every second Sunday during the football season for a total of 10 or 11 games plus finals during August. The purpose of our FIDA teams is to initiate access for people with disability to the game of Australian Rules football, to promote, develop, and manage a team relevant to the skill levels of each individual, and allowing them to become the best they can be as a participant in sport as part of a team. Success for our team is not necessarily by games won, but by the progress of many players with coordination and body movement, and the confidence to achieve many of life skills through integration with the general community.
During 2004 recreational Manager at the Oakleigh Center Mrs Yvonne Skoda was approached by the Football Integration Development Association (FIDA)along with the Victorian Amatuer Football Association( VAFA) on the possibility of forming a football team in and around the local area that had not previously been covered by FIDA. Yvonne then approached volunteers within the Center to maybe investigate and form a football team of people with intellectual disabilities to compete in the FIDA competition. After a successful meeting early in 2005 between FIDA,VAFA,Mazenod Old Collegians Football Club and volunteers from the Oakleigh Center,the Mazenod Panthers Football Club was formed and played our first game in season 2005 in Division 3 with a team of 12 players mainly all from the Oakleigh Center. In a recruitment effort ,team co-ordinator Andrew Sharp visited Emerson Special School in Dandenong,and after dicussions with school sports master Scott Tucker a need for this type team activity was discussed as a great integration program for special school students both past and present. Scott was then able to recruit several players with ability to enable the Mazenod Panthers to field a second team in a higher division of the FIDA competition. With the involvement of volunteers Ron Dovaston,Alf Duijkers,Yvonne Skoda and parents of our team,along with our generous sponsors Glenn Tilling , Cameron Sharp and the Oakleigh Center, we were able to purchase two sets of jumpers to complete our first season in the competition with two teams,and successfully winning the premiership in Division 2.
Our FIDA team continues to enjoy the magnificent support of Tilling Timber, Jholl Lawyers and Consultants, Lane Toyota, Waverley RSL , Carlton Towers Pty Ltd, and Cam Sharp Sports (Tuff).