A team put together from the fashion industry to raise awareness of women’s rights took part in their first tournament as part of the SARI/UNHCR annual Fair Play Cup in Dublin at the weekend.
Captain Kamilla Angulska (Poland) said playing soccer was a way for her to get fit and put the human rights on show.
“This is a way to play against other teams and encourage people to look at Female Genital Mutilation and show that we are all the same. On this team we are all different nationalities but we can play together on one team,” she said after their final game.
The team – made up of players from Ireland, Poland and Somalia – have been together since January, training once a week with Adam Zdebiak, also from Poland.
Angulska said they were pretty happy with their results – playing three games, drawing two and losing one. And relieved that in spite of some nasty-looking clouds, the sun hung on for the day.
Somali player Ifrah Ahmed, an active campaigner against FGM in Ireland, said: “We want to show the possibilities to everyone, many Irish people might not know why someone is a refugee, might not know why a refugee exists. We are Irish too.”
Smiling broadly, Angulsksa said the week was a special one for them.
“On Friday we went to the Mansion House (to meet the Lord Mayor) and celebrate the bill against FGM, and now we’re playing so this weekend is very important for us.”
Coach Zdebiak, his arm in a sling, joked that back in January he had to explain to the team what a football was.
“The girls started as beginners so it wasn’t difficult for me. They were completely new, if you have had some experience it can be more difficult to train people. Maybe in the future we can play in the league.”