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The Dutch team at the EURO Unity Cup
Source: RefugeeHelp
"I can now show everyone that you can achieve what you want."
Published at: 7/6/2023, 11:24 AM

The Dutch team competed for the cup on 28 June at the EURO UNITY Cup in Frankfurt: the European Championship for players with a refugee story. "It's great to be in the Orange jersey. After the selection day and training sessions, we are ready to win!"

This video shows the Orange team in action during the EURO UNITY Cup

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The EURO UNITY Cup is about to begin

Early in the morning, the teams gather at the sports complex of the amateur club Weiss-Blau in Frankfurt. The club is hosting a European Championship: the EURO UNITY Cup. This European Cup is organised by UEFA and UNHCR.

16 European countries participate in the tournament. The players do a warm-up and the coaches discuss the lineup. The EURO UNITY Cup is about to begin!

"Language has never been a problem"

The Netherlands is participating in the tournament for the 1st time. The selection for the Dutch team took place a few weeks earlier. The best players were selected on the KNVB campus in Zeist.

The roots of these talents are in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Syria. "Language has never been a problem for us. We have been playing together for a long time and know each other well," said 29-year-old Noori. "We are friends before we are football players."

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"I see everyone giving their all"

In the group stage in Frankfurt (Germany), the Netherlands will play against Spain, Switzerland and a mixed team from the European Union. The teams consist of both men and women. Every match there must be at least one woman on the field. The Netherlands won all matches in the group stage. Noori: "We are a great team. I see that everyone gives their all!"

Playing football at the highest level is a dream of many players. It is Noori's dream, too. "I played in Yemen in the national youth team. You did not get paid anything for that. So I ended up choosing to study in Egypt. I saw more future in that."

"Dates speak louder than words"

The Orange team also laughs a lot. They have changed the Dutch proverb "Geen woorden, maar daden" (actions speak louder than words) to "Geen woorden, maar dadels" (dates speaker louder than words). Changing the word "daden" (action) to "dadels" (dates) has been well thought out, according to Noori. He has his own business in dates called Noori Dates.

"When I had to flee, I knew I wanted to make a lot of money later. By earning money, I can give something back to help people from Yemen." In Yemen, Noori was already an entrepreneur. He knows where to get the best dates in the world and now takes them for his teammates.

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"I hope to be a positive example to others."

The Dutch team advances to the semifinals against Ireland. The score remains 0 - 0, so it comes down to penalties. This is not a good omen in Dutch football history.

Things remain exciting for a long time, but the Irish manage to walk away with the victory. Disappointed, but with their heads held high, the players leave the field. Noori commented, "The fact that I am playing in Orange means a lot. It is a dream I had as a child. Now I can show everyone that you can achieve what you want. I hope to be a positive example for others."

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