Jimmy, a refugee from Sudan tells us the story of his refugee football team
When my friend told my about Barnsley and said it is a small town, and you will not like it, also you will not find your dream of some good people and education, they told me that it would be better if you chose Manchester or Liverpool or London, so that you can live and learn quickly. They have told me that refugees and asylum seekers living there are scattered and do not know each other.
I have told them the problem is not in Barnsley as a small town and it is not the solution to go to Manchester, Liverpool or London. The problem is when a person living in a small town has small dreams the city becomes small, and when you have big dreams the city becomes large even if it is small. For the people I told them it’s important to show love, respect, trust, honesty and good ethics and then people show love to you.
Some things are not impossible, but if a man wanted only to be in a small place in a small room with small ideas and thinks only of eating and sleeping he will achieve little. But if a man wanted to transform the dream of a small idea into a big idea, this can become a successful project, creating strength from weakness.
The simple idea I had was to buy a football for three pounds and bring refugees together. I told them life is tough, but we must live with all the pain and rigors. I told them the tiger stands strong, and the eagle loves space and a life of freedom so we have to be strong like tigers and live in space like eagles do. We have a football field and we are brothers who play there and afterwards we all eat together. We also go to English language lessons at the Red Cross and then to the library for conversation and coffee.
Hearts have gathered and are united before they gather in our home lands and unite, our making of Barnsley City is unprecedented in the UK and today we dream of games with all refugees in London, Manchester and Liverpool, this is the idea of one man, now we are one hundred and fifty strong in the heart of one man.
Anything is possible within the world in which we live. Only fear prevents us from fulfilling our hopes and dreams. If we are faint-hearted or cannot be bothered to search for ways to improve ourselves and pursue our goals, even simple things won’t be achieved. However, we can be successful in achieving improvement if we are diligent and patient. Seeking advice and the opinions of good law-abiding decent people from all communities will help us all to live in a better and peaceful society.
This applies to the football team I started in May 2015 and above is a picture from that time.
My grandfather used to say that no matter how dark things may seem there is always light at the end of the tunnel, but we must be patient and determined in order to achieve our aims.
This is a story about a farmer who had a deep well. He had a horse that was old and he wanted to get rid of it because of it’s age. He asked his friends and neighbours to put the horse in the well and fill it with earth. The horse became aware that it was in great danger and as the dirt was poured into the well it shook the dust from it’s back and climbed to the top of the mound. The horse gathered all it’s strength and jumped from the highest point of the earth and escaped from the well.
Everyone marvelled at how brave, intelligent and determined the horse was. Although it was only an animal, it knew it wanted to live and wasn’t prepared to just accept it’s fate, it wanted to survive.
Sometimes a door closes, but we mustn’t surrender to disappointment, despair or worry as another door will open eventually. We must never give up, just like the horse did.
As human beings we can learn much from this. The horse was steadfast and determined in it’s resolve and we must try and be like this in our efforts to live with dignity and pride.
This is the picture taken five months after the first one and it shows how far we have come from our humble beginnings in a local park to playing matches at Barnsley Football Club. We are very grateful to the club for letting us use their facilities and providing us with our kit.
All of us came to this country from very difficult situations in different countries and this brought us together and helped us enjoy life. This is not only because we enjoy playing football, because after the match we like to socialise by eating and drinking together. I thank God I have changed the course of my team for the better, so they are in a stronger position in Barnsley. Thank God the dream came true.
Jimmy from Barnsley