Grassroots organization i-ACT is working in eastern Chad to take a team of Darfuri refugee football players to compete in Sweden for the ConIFA World Football Cup on June 1 to June 8th, according to the CS Monitor.
The young men who make up the football teams are a part of Darfur United, an organization that looks to empower Darfur communities with “joy, inspiration, and hope.” While many of the refugees of Darfur have been forgotten even though they face great hardships, such as ongoing violence in Darfur and food shortages, each of the men were selected because they are already leaders in their respective camps and therefore represent the future of their people.
In order to make the football team, three days of intense tryouts were held, with the list of players being narrowed down to 21. That group was then taken to train for two weeks to prepare for the major competition. At the end, only 15 of the 21 players will be chosen to represent Darfur United in Ostersund, Sweden.
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This is not the first time i-ACT has carried out such feat:
In 2012 the group organized, “…an all-refugee soccer team that traveled from isolated camps on the Chad-Sudan border to participate in the 2012 Viva World Cup in Iraqi Kurdistan.”
“Through the power of community, i-ACT coordinated the creation of the team and its participation in the international tournament. It was an unforgettable experience for all involved. It served as a vehicle for awareness and support for a refugee community that has lived through unspeakable horrors and that has been forced to live a less than complete life in remote camps. The team’s story brings the grave issues, such as homelessness and war, to a large audience through a relatable story of a team’s journey to a competition.”
Watch Darfur United in between practice here:
In order to get this year’s football team from from N’Djamena, Chad, to Ostersund, Sweden, Darfur United is working to raise money for travel expenses for the players. As of Tuesday, they had just $12,250 left to raise. You can assist this group in realizing their goal by donating here.