A shared passion for football
“This is a great night for me. I never think we will win this game, but we made it”
The message came through last night from a staunch Chelsea fan whom I met in a refugee settlement last weekend. We had discussed the prospects for the Arsenal v Chelsea UEFA Cup final, played this Wednesday. He was all for Chelsea, I was for Arsenal.
This fan knows his stuff. He can tell you about all the African players in the English and French premier leagues. He knows which clubs have ever had players from which African countries. He knows how each African national team is doing at the moment.
He reminded me of my own son, with his passion for his team and his unhealthy obsession with football stats and trivia. It’s an accident of history, geography and politics that one young man is safe and able to travel freely, while the other is forced to leave home and stuck in the grim dead end of the refugee camps.
Football is a great escape for many of the refugees. They talk about it freely and at great length and they play it whenever they can in the camps. It’s a brief relaxation and recreation in their difficult situation.
On every Care4Calais distribution, there is sports equipment: football, volleyball, cricket (for the Afghan refugees especially) and anything else we can take. But we’re down to our last two footballs and we need a volleyball. And cricket bats and stump sets we can use on concrete. Please send us some over, or make a financial donation to pay for some. They will be enjoyed and appreciated.