One of a brigade of players aiding Richmond’s quest to reclaim a place among the AFL’s elite teams, Bachar Houli is as balanced on the field as he is off it.
A Vic Metro Under 16 and 18 representative, Houli was drafted by Essendon in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft at selection 42. Playing in a range of roles with the Bombers, Houli was nominated for the NAB Rising Star after an outstanding game in the opening round of 2008. After four years and 26 games at Essendon, the former Western Jet made the move to Richmond at the end of 2010 in search of greater opportunity.
This was achieved over Houli’s first two years at Punt Road. A top five finish in the Best and Fairest in his first year at the Tigers as a running half back or wing justified the move. Houli played a remarkable 111 games in his first five years with Richmond. A wrist injury limited Houli to 12 games in 2016, but his talent still shone through with five 30-plus possession games.
The AFL’s first devout muslim is shining example in the community. An Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassador, Houli has been named an inaugural winner of the Award for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding from the University of South Australia’s Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding and the Australia Day Council in late 2012.
In his ambassador role, some ground breaking initiatives have been established. The Bachar Houli Cup, an inter-Islamic schools football competition involving Islamic schools across Victoria, and Bachar Houli Academy, to help nuture young Islamic footballers aspiring to follow in Houli’s footsteps as a footballer and person, have been created with a great impact in a short time.
Houli’s website bacharhouli.com.au gives fans an insight into Houli’s career.