"THE FOOTBALLERS CAN PROBABLY NEVER RETURN TO THEIR COUNTRY"

"THE FOOTBALLERS CAN PROBABLY NEVER RETURN TO THEIR COUNTRY"

Ten refugee footballers from Eritrea who sought asylum after a 2015 World Cup qualifier were back on the pitch last week in a tournament arranged by the Botswana player association to show solidarity with their situation.

 

Footballers Union Botswana (FUB) organized the one-day competition at the Dukwi refugee camp in north Botswana. The 10 footballers refused to return home after playing a national team match in Botswana. They are living at the camp, which houses more than 2,000 refugees from countries including Congo, Namibia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

 

“The footballers can probably never return to their country as they are not safe there,” FUB secretary general Kgosana Masaseng said. “We tried to bring back joy to them with what they love most, playing football. The tournament was a massive success, so many people were happy and singing.”

 

Onalethata Tshekiso, a former Botswana national-team player who is president of FUB, was among three teams of former players who took part in the tournament against a refugee team, which included the Eritreans. During the event, various former players engaged with children in the camp to educate them about the dangers of alcohol, drugs, HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy, as these are all serious problems among youth. These former players are part of FUB’s outreach program and they have been trained for these meetings.

 

“We hope that we can help refugees join our society. We have received permission to continue visiting the camp,” said Masaseng.

 

Source: www.fifpro.org

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