Man viert zijn goal tijdens de selectiedag op de KNVB Campus

"It is a dream to play football in Orange"

Published at: 5/23/2023, 1:12 PM
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During the EURO UNITY Cup, the Netherlands will be represented by 8 football players who came to the Netherlands as refugees. The selection day for the Dutch team took place last Friday in Zeist. "I came here from the AZC Haarlem to play football.

If you have applied for asylum in the Netherlands and have a W-document for 1 year, you may do a work placement at your school. You do not need a permit.

undefinedYou are not alone,undefined says professional football star Farkhunda Muhtaj to everyone in the hall. She herself fled Afghanistan and grew up in Canada. Now she plays for the womenundefineds football club Fortuna Sittard and is captain of the Orange team of refugees heading to Frankfurt. undefinedFootball makes you forget your worries for a while. Above all, have fun today!undefined

Cheerful and slightly tense, 200 football players gather in Zeist. With sports bags and football boots in hand, everyone takes their seats in the large hall of the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB). The hall is packed with people of all nationalities and stories of their own. But they all have one goal: to be selected for the Dutch team for the EURO UNITY Cup. 

The EURO UNITY Cup 2023 will be held in Frankfurt on 27, 28 and 29 June. UEFA and UNHCRundefineds official European Refugee Championship. The Netherlands will be represented by a specially selected team consisting of 8 refugees and 3 Dutch nationals. The team was selected last Friday at KNVB Campus in Zeist.

"I learned to play football on the streets."

After the speeches, itundefineds time for action. A short warm-up on the field already shows that there is a lot of talent around. So does 20-year-old Hadi. He is wearing a familiar orange shirt with number 14. undefinedIundefinedm a big Cruijff fan!undefined When Hadi was 10 years old, he started playing football in Iraq. undefinedWe didnundefinedt have football pitches, but we played on the streets. I also used to watch videos of great football players to get even better myself. Itundefineds a dream to play football in Orange.undefined

undefinedI canundefinedt keep up with the young players anymore!undefined

Shahab is 34 years old and is from Iran. He stands on the sidelines encouraging his team. undefinedI came here from the AZC Haarlem to play football.undefined Shahab himself looks up to players like Arjen Robben and Dennis Bergkamp the most. undefinedRobben and Bergkamp are also a bit older, just like me. I canundefinedt keep up with the young players here anymore!undefined

undefinedWe are going to win today!undefined

The talented player Alexandr from Ukraine is only 18 years old. undefinedI was eager to come and play football today. When I arrived here, I met other Ukrainians. We immediately set up a teamundefined. This day is extra fun for Alexandr. He played football to a high level in Ukraine. undefinedI am happy to be in the Netherlands now. The Netherlands is doing a lot for us. We have shelter and I go to school.undefined Confidence is great: undefinedWe are going to win today!undefined

The refugee teamundefineds coach is René van Rijswijk. He himself had a career in professional football. It is now up to him to take the best players to Frankfurt. On 28 June, they will compete for the cup.

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