When an asylum seeker arrive at center Sigerslev, he is met with a smiling face and a football question.
When you arrive at Sigerslev camp, you are met with a smiling face and a nice question by Torben Slatan: “Are you a football player?” If your answer is no, he will smile to you again and say: “you will be…”
Torben Slatan is the coach of the Sigerslev football team. He has studied as a trainer, and has been coaching the team for 10 months.
The Sigerslev Team
“When I came to Sigerslev camp I was surprised by the number of people who played football”, Torben Slatan says.
Center Sigerslev is a camp for single, male refugees and football is the most popular game among them. There is a large and beautiful playground, which is where they play, and you can enjoy the game if you are playing or just watching.
“Some of the players who play are professionals,” Torben Slatan says.
Among the teams that play football all around Denmark’s refugees camps, the Sigerslev team is the second best team. Unfortunately the team lose sometimes, which may be because of the many changes in the team. For instance there are transfers when people are moved to another center or when some of the players get a positive asylum decision. That makes it difficult to keep a strong team in a small camp like Sigerslev.
The Sigerslev football players are happy because they think they are winners in two ways. No matter who wins, they think playing football keeps their brains working, and secondly, they are going outside of the camp and experience new things when they play against other camps.
Iqbal has been playing for a long time on the team: “I’m very happy when I play and help the others to make a good game. I don’t really care about scoring goals. At the end, we are winners without any goals because we get stronger, we go out of the camp and we show others that it is great playing football,” he says.
When the Sigerslev team was playing in the Sports League in Auderød camp this year, they reached the final of the Championship. Despite many of their players suffering from injuries they won the second place between the seven teams participating. Sandholm’s team won the first place.
Asylum Seekers from Team Sigerslev speak about football
FARHAD NANAS, 26, Syria
When I was in Syria I rarely played football. I played maybe once a month because I was busy working. Now I am playing more often. Staying in the camp without any activities makes me have bad memories. Right now we are not professionals, but some of us plan to be.
ZAKARIYA HABASH, 29, Syria
I have two children in Syria and you know what is happening there. But I can’t play football and think about my family at the same time. That is why I play. I don’t want to play football after my case has finished.
JWAN, 29, Syria
I have been here about 6 months. I am in a terrible mood, so I am playing football to get some rest. I don’t care about the results. If we win or lose, that does not matter to me. I just want to play football to go outside the camp. Our coach is very nice to us. He always helps us to get more energy for playing and we forget other things that make us sad.