Time for something unrelated to the hype of South Africa 2010, something a little more grass roots.
Tomorrow (June 20) is World Refugee Day.
It's a good time to think about the plight of these good people, and the paths they have taken to come here. Its also a time to think about the unifying bond of football as the global language. In a totally selfish way imagine what the All Whites of the future will look like once the united colours of the world join their ranks. Here is one such story. Daniel Gebreezgiher is a young Sudanese refugee, who has fought the odds to get a trial at Leeds United, he is also training with the Phoenix. He was playing for Wellington United in the Central League last year. Daniel has already come so far. When he was living in Sudan he witnessed a lot of violence, and his father was jailed for his poltitical views. Says Daniel: 'It was a very dangerous place. I saw people get beaten up all the time, sometimes just for their religion ... I got beaten up for being Christian. I just had to take it like a man.'
I wish him all the best, and remember if it doesn't work out at Leeds or the Phoenix the doors to Wellington United are always open! In fact thats why we concede so many goals...
To commemorate World Refugee Day in Wellington, Refugee Services in association with a myriad of like minded partners including Wellington United AFC are putting on a football fiesta at Newtown Park. I have somehow managed to, once again, wangle my way into the starting line up for the Wellington Invitational XI, along with Sami Yusif, the goal keeper from my team. Sami is an Assyrian refugee who along with his family has made a new home in Wellington.
I invite anyone reading this from Wellington to come down to Newtown Park tomorrow to join in the festivities. Here are the full details:
World Refugee Day Celebration- Sunday 20 June, Newtown Park, Wellington
Refugee Communities from all over Wellington, the Hutt Valley and Porirua have joined with Rotary Club of Wellington, Wellington City Council and Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand to plan a fantastic series of events for World Refugee Day 2010!
Join us this Sunday, 20 June, at Wellington’s Newtown Park and Mt. Albert Park for a wonderful cultural experience with two exciting football matches, traditional music and dance, delicious food cooked by the communities, and a tree planting with Rotary Club of Wellington.
10:30am Cultural Procession
11:00am Kick-off Football Match (Asia/America VS Africa)
12:30pm 2nd Football Match (Refugee All-Stars VS Wellington Invitational XI)
12:15pm Delicious traditional food for sale
1:15pm Football Awards Ceremony, cultural music and dance, story-telling
2:30pm Tree-planting with Rotary Club of Wellington at Mt. Albert Park
If you have any questions please contact Teresa Bass, see below.
Phone: 04 805 0343