Football has a home for Refugees!

Last week saw two of the PITC staff head over from the grey shores of England and rock up in arguably the cultural capital of Europe, no not Andorra, but Italy. The country that boasts good food, good weather and a general good time was more than hospitable to two bumbling english men who would look better in a place like Norwich as opposed to Naples! However that is where they stayed and deliver on their expertise towards up and coming Italian entrepreneurs who are keen to kick off their own business as well as the Italian economy.

Although a challenging and thought provoking week in the classroom, there was obviously time to put the learning to one side for an evening and take part in a football festival. This was the chance for Adam and James to fly the British flag and demonstrate the skills of a nation that brought football to the world. I think it is safe to say that just like the national team, there were potentially more lows than there were highs!

The tournament was a celebratory affair that was focussing on the 4th birthday of a refugee team that was created to integrate refugees into society and use the power of football to become a global language. Players from many countries in Africa, including Gambia, Angola, South Africa and Ghana played, including Ukrainians, Russians and Swedish, completed nicely by two englishmen. The idea itself was genius and obviously means a lot in the society in which it set, as there were more than 60 players in attendance and fans came to watch and cheer the players on.

For Adam and James its was great to see how football can bring so many communities together and breakdown potential barriers that may arise. The skills on offer were fantastic, and in some cases not so good. Luckily that was not the point though. The point was to celebrate football and the power it has through the RFC Lions 4th birthday party.

RFC Lions were cracking guests and the team swapped shirts with Adam and James at the end in gratitude of their attendance. Driving back from the game in the car, reflecting on our performance and humbled by peoples generosity, created some really thought provoking questions as to whether an organisation like Pompey in the Community could instigate something similar back in England. The question soon changed from if the organisation could do it to ‘how soon can it be done’.

Football never fails to surprise and on that cold night on a hill top in the middle of nowhere, the global game demonstrated that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible.

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