Former FIFA world champion plays FIFA with Syrian refugees

Last Updated
Victor Krogh Jensen

It is one of the most important parts of the competitive FIFA season as the world's best players are preparing for the FIFA Global Series Playoffs in the hope of reaching, and winning, the FIFA eWorld Cup.

While most who are looking to book their place in the FIFA eWorld Cup are practising, North player and former two-time FIFA world champion August "Agge" Rosenmeier teamed up with Dansk Røde Kors (The Danish branch of the International Red Cross) to travel to Ankara where he visited Syrian refugees, learnt more about their lives and also tried to bring smiles to a few young faces with some games of FIFA.

Talking to Goal, the Dane spoke of his memorable experience: "It was quite an eye-opener for me.

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"I was born in a very safe part of the world and have had the luck to become a professional FIFA player. Some of the guys I met in Ankara were not as fortunate as me. 

"You often hear about refugees crossing the borders, but talking to someone who has actually left family and friends in order to survive was touching and heart-breaking. Then it suddenly becomes a reality, it really hits you to hear those stories. Imagine being on the run, and forced to leave your family behind."

One child Agge met who had a particularly big impact on him was Mehmet whose story is so touching that an interactive film, Brothers Across Borders, has been made of it.

"He told me his story and it was so hard to relate cause I am privileged to be born and live in Denmark," admitted Agge. "He couldn't even visit his parents because of lacking a visa yet he was still okay with his life and said that many others had a much tougher life than him. He still put others before himself, that really touched me."

Like football, gaming is universal. The language barrier didn't cause any issues for Agge and he was delighted that he could do his bit to help.

He said: "I went to the local community centre to play FIFA with some of the local refugees, it was with PC and mouse, though, which was really difficult! It was nice to give them a happy experience when their everyday life is sometimes quite tough.

"A few games of FIFA do not change the world, but I was happy to give some of the refugees a moment of joy in an everyday life that can be hard sometimes. This is a great example of how gaming can bring people together and make people happy for a moment. I even taught them the La Croqueta and Elastico to them so who knows if we might see one of them become professional"

Agge is now back home, practising intensely to qualify for the FIFA eWorld Cup and become a world champion again like he did five years ago. It's been a difficult season for the Dane who has struggled for consistency and currently finds himself 22nd in the Global Series rankings which wouldn't be enough for him to advance. However, following his trip, Agge says he'll head into the Play-offs with a fresh mindset.

"I know that I will be upset the next time I lose an important match but hopefully I’ll think about my time with the Syrian refugees and think to myself: life isn't that bad after all," he said.

"I think it’s important for me to make people aware that we can get some information through the media about certain peoples' lives. However, to actually hear about those lives in person and see the circumstances before your eyes is very different. You get a different perspective on things."