Goal Click is a global football storytelling platform, finding people from around the world to tell stories about their football lives and communities. Follow Goal Click on Instagram @goalclick or read more stories at goal-click.com.
In 2020 Goal Click Refugees was launched in partnership with UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency. The ongoing series is collaborating with refugees and asylum seekers around the world to document their stories through football.
Goal Click (GC): Can you tell us your personal story?
David Philip (DP): I am from the Nuba Mountains in Sudan. Sudan has never been at peace since I was born, especially in the Nuba region. When I left my home with my family in 2006, Sudan and South Sudan were still one country. We went to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya where we got support from UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). I spent my childhood as a refugee in Kenya, like many other Sudanese who fled the country.
I joined a team called Eldo FC and coach Jafar Omar took our training at that time. Eldo was a team organised by us refugees who fled Sudan and South Sudan and took refuge in Kenya. I did not know how to control or even kick a ball, but after the training, I got motivated by sports. Also, I had hopes for training kids and bringing them to the level that I am.
I later moved back to South Sudan in late 2012 (after the split between Sudan and South Sudan) with my friends from South Sudan and Nuba. It was not easy for us to find work in Kenya. In South Sudan things were still not great. We had hope, many of us were happy to join in building the new state and a better future.
I was looking for a job and Green Kordofan employed me in 2016 to assist coaching younger children in Yida camp. I am now Green Kordofan senior coach coordinator and supporting our new Covid-19 awareness project. We recently had the opportunity to hire another two young people who I supervise, 18-year-old Manal and 18-year-old Sabri.
Green Kordofan is an international NGO supporting refugees and internally displaced people aged 5-18 years in South Sudan, to reduce the likelihood of them being recruited to one of the multiple warring gangs in the area or joining the military. They provide a safe environment for war-displaced and vulnerable children and young people – particularly young girls – to learn new skills and improve their life chances. Today they have children playing in 30 teams, attending training three times a week and playing in friendly competitions. Football and all sporting activities are now on hold like everywhere in the world, with the staff and volunteers all involved in the Covid-19 awareness-raising project.
GC: Who is in these photos? Where were the photos taken?
DP: The photos show children and the volunteers of Green Kordofan in Yida refugee camp in South Sudan. The photos were taken in Yida refugee camp on Block Four field. Around 60,000 people displaced from their homes by the war live in Yida.
GC: Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
DP: The kids were happy with the donation of the motorbike from Green Kordofan and celebrating World Peace Day on 21st September. The Peace tournament teams are organized by age groups. There are also teams for girls.
The bike helps staff move around the Yida camp, to seek out young people who are not able to travel from their home areas of the camp and help organise football matches where they live.
It is important to show boys and girls, young women and men. Although football is sometimes seen as male-dominated, girls are encouraged to be in the teams, to lead the football teams, and one of the teams has a female goalkeeper. It is important to support gender equality to help change in South Sudan. Green Kordofan also supports a female volleyball team and boys and girls take part in mixed organised running groups.
GC: Can you tell us the personal story of anyone else in the photographs?
DP: There is a little girl known as Rebecca (wearing a blue t-shirt) who fled the war and arrived in Yida without her parents. Later she was reunited with her auntie in the camp. She was traumatized but is now a very confident football player. I'm pleased I got the chance to train a child like her. She is great!
One of our staff members, a young woman (Nura, 18 years old), started as a participant when she was a child and is now a member of staff helping other young people.
GC: Why is football important to you?
DP: Football allowed me to have many friends from different tribes and around the world. It brought me peace and unity with people. It has really brought people together in the communities.
GC: What ambitions do you have for the future?
DP: My ambition is to train the children to become world-class players like Messi, CR7, Yaya Toure, Samuel Eto’o and the rest.
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