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“Soccer makes you overlook your previous for some time”

The contributors of the event

NOS Soccer

In a world filled with battle, a soccer has a particular energy. Placing issues into perspective, hope, enjoyable, friendships, happiness, goals. All of it stems from that little spherical factor. As a result of whether or not you come from Ukraine, Syria, Iraq or Iran: everybody speaks the language of the ball.

That is evident on Friday afternoon on the KNVB Campus in Zeist, the place about 2 hundred refugees play a event, with the goal being a spot within the Dutch choice for the official UEFA European Championship for refugees, the place the Orange squad will make its debut in Frankfurt on the finish of June.

Below the radiant solar solely comfortable faces. Everybody enjoys, is fanatical and goals of the choice. On the similar time, they’re all boys with a narrative. They usually left their residence head over heels as a result of it was not secure there.

Russian missile

There’s a loud cheer from the entrance of the sphere and a non-Dutch cry. A staff filled with athletic company, all wearing a distinct outfit, outclasses the opponent. It seems to be a bunch of younger males from Ukraine.

“It is nice that you just Dutch manage this for us,” says Aleksandr from Kyiv, the very best footballer of the bunch. He fled due to the battle and now performs with compatriots he met on at the present time. “Good and simple communication,” he jokes.

The cheerful boy tells casually {that a} Russian missile exploded simply a short time in the past, a kilometer from his parental residence. “No person is aware of what may occur there tomorrow.”

  • NOS

    The staff from Ukraine, with Aleksandr third from the left
  • KNVB

    A duel throughout the event

Aleksandr feels very welcome within the Netherlands. “I work right here in a restaurant and everyone seems to be at all times asking how I and my household are doing. The Dutch are comfortable to assist us and I’m very grateful for that.”

It’s not shocking that he impresses on the soccer area. He says that he has been enjoying soccer since he was 5 and performed within the youth of report champion Dinamo Kyiv earlier than the battle. “Soccer is my life. It is rather more than a sport. It provides me hope.”

Acquainted face as a coach

From a distance, former skilled soccer participant René van Rijswijk appears at it with a happy look. The previous attacker of RKC, Cambuur and NEC will quickly be the coach of the refugee staff that may go to the European Championship on behalf of the Netherlands.

The staff that wins the event will get to compete. Supplemented with gamers chosen by Van Rijswijk. “There’s actually some expertise right here, that can be fairly a job,” he concludes from his all-overview seat.

The successful staff going to Frankfurt, with accompanying workers

Van Rijswjk is socially concerned and can be a coach of the Dutch homeless staff, with whom he performed the World Cup road soccer. “These folks have been by a variety of shit, however now they wish to transfer ahead.”

“Simply the sensation you could not go to your personal residence appears very troublesome to me. Not to mention all of the annoying issues that brought on it,” says the person who was often known as a footballer for his ponytail, however has now misplaced his wild hair.

View the portrait concerning the footballer René van Rijswijk by Frank Heinen under:

Remaining sign: René van Rijswijk

It’s Van Rijswijk’s activity to evaluate the gamers not solely on their feeling for the ball, but additionally on their staff spirit and solidarity. He finally gives eleven gamers, a mixture of eight refugees and three nationwide newbie gamers.

Afghan refugee helps refugees

The staff should have no less than two girls in keeping with UEFA necessities. Certainly one of them has already arrived with ambassador Farkhunda Muhtaj. Muhtaj performs at Fortuna Sittard and is captain of the Afghan girls’s staff.

A refugee herself, she grew up in Canada, however by no means misplaced her connection to Afghanistan. When the Taliban seized energy there once more in August 2021 and it grew to become unsafe for ladies specifically, Muhtaj helped with the evacuations of nationwide youth gamers.

Farkhunda Muhtaj (heart with black and white) with the Afghan refugees in Lisbon

After a month, she managed to get her compatriots to Portugal, the place Muhtaj himself got here to welcome them in Lisbon. “Since then I’ve been serving to them to proceed their life and soccer profession there,” she says from the sidelines in Zeist.

“Now that they’re secure, the Afghan girls can do what they’ve at all times needed to do, which is to reach life. We wish to present that refugees have a lot to supply.”

Her gaze as soon as once more sweeps throughout the sphere filled with refugees having enjoyable. “Soccer is a common language. It provides you the chance to overlook your previous and dream about your future. You possibly can see that in all these smiles right here.”

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