Refugee explains how football saved him from war

first_img20-year-old Gerald Mballe played at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 after fleeing Cameroon.War-torn Cameroon is sadly not the best place to live right now.Many have flown the African country, trying to look for a better place to live.And for 20-year-old Gerald Mballe, football was the best chance to get rescued and to continue playing what he loves the most.“I encountered so many difficulties when I arrived in Italy,” the 20-year-old told FIFA.com“Everything was just so new for me. They spoke a different language. There was still discrimination. I felt different. I felt barriers everywhere.”Quiz: How deep is your knowledge about Samuel Eto’o? Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 9, 2019 It’s time for you to tell us everything you know about Samuel Eto’o. We will ask you 10 questions about the Cameroon legend. Enjoy!  “Football played a big part in helping me integrate me into society. Football is a universal language. You don’t need to speak the same language to play together. I would play in the parks and then Luigi [Petrillo], my mentor, invited to help coach a team of people with intellectual disabilities,” he added.“I received such a warm reception from them. I felt people accept me without looking at my skin color, my eyes. It was so real, so pure. I regained self-confidence, self-identity. I felt part of a group. I felt that people were listening to me.”“Because I’m not a professional coach, I used my own soccer skills to teach people. And I tried to give them responsibility and encourage them, telling them, ‘You can do it’. I told them that if we’re passing each other the ball, then we’re a team, and as a team, we can do anything,” he explained.“When I heard I was going to the Special Olympics World Games, I was extremely happy, so excited. I had previously been denied the chance to go to a tournament in the USA because I had been a refugee and couldn’t get a visa.”“I must say a big thanks to the Special Olympics because they made the impossible, possible. They’re fighting for inclusion, for integration. They said, ‘If someone wants to integrate themselves into society, why does there have to be so many difficulties for him to get a visa?’ And they made it possible,” he concluded.last_img

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