The Danish professional football player, Patrick Mtiliga and his friends invited asylum seekers to a day of football, dance and dinner. The goal was nothing more than to make them happy and put a smile on their faces. New Times joined the day, and interviewed some of the people involved.
Asylum seekers from the centers Sandholm and Kongelunden had the opportunity to join the football event, which took place in Copenhagen. Between 60 and 70 asylum seekers, who wanted to join, were picked up in buses from the centers and transported straight to the playing area. Here they played in small teams of 4 vs 4. Everything was free for them, and apart from the football, there was also a breakdance battle, a freestyle football show and dinner.
Behind the event was several organisations such as: Street Society, Copenhagen Panne House, Unlimited Voice and The Red Cross, but it was the professional football player, Patrick Jan Mtiliga, captain of FC Nordsjælland, who initiated and organised the event.
New Times asked Patrick why he chose to organise the event:
”I organized this, because when I saw that the desperate people walking on the highway coming from Syria, I kept thinking “what if this was my own family”. I thought: How can I help these people just a little bit, and not just by giving money; maybe I can do something that makes them happy or put a smile on their faces. So I got this idea, and I contacted my longtime friend Suell from Copenhagen Panne House, and Reda from Street Society. We talked together, I told them my idea, and finally we called the Red Cross.”
For Patrick, this was the first time he organised a project like this. After putting together the idea, he began to invite people and the Media.” Hopefully, people will see what we are doing and get inspired to do the same thing” Patrick says.
One of the other people involved in the project is Reda from Street Society and Mikkel from the Red Cross. They are both happy to be part of the project: “I am happy to be part of this program,” Reda says. “I don’t feel that the asylum seekers are different from us.” Mikkel agrees: ”Every Asylum seeker seems happy, and so am I.”
Reda tells us that they aim towards expanding the project in the future: “This is a project in the making and today is the opening. In the future, we will try to come and provide training in the asylum centres,” he says.