International Human Rights Day Commemoration Darfur United vs. Matabeleland Select
Following the success of CONIFA’s charity football match in Tottenham on April 9, 2017, during which CONIFA and the World Health Organization advocated to spread awareness and spur action to help end the horrible drought in Somalia, CONIFA has planned its next humanitarian event with Darfur United!
December 10, 2017: In order to raise funds and awareness for the prevention of the humanitarian crisis in eastern Chad, CONIFA is hosting a friendly match at the 40,000-seated White City Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on December 10, 2017, International Human Rights Day. This match between CONIFA members Matabeleland Football Confederacy (MFC) and Darfur United (DU) will promote the understanding and awareness of the international community regarding the humanitarian crisis within Chad and promote aid to refugee camps currently established in the region.
Darfur United (DU) is a men’s soccer team of resettled refugees from Darfur, Sudan, based in Östersund, Sweden. In a joint effort with the Darfuri refugee community, the UN Refugee Agency, and soccer fans, iACT formed DU in 2012. That year, iACT took the team from refugee camps in eastern Chad to Iraqi-Kurdistan to participate in the Viva World Cup, where the team competed and scored the Darfuri community’s first international goal. Two years later, iACT facilitated the team’s participation in the 2014 ConIFA World Football Cup in Östersund, Sweden. During this tournament, DU players shared their stories with the world and iACT began forming partnerships with Swedish communities. Thirteen of the original Darfur United players were able to claim asylum in Sweden in 2014. Not only is Darfur United an opportunity for the refugees to represent their people while playing the “beautiful game,” it is also a movement—a movement to bring hope, inspiration, and joy to the people of Darfur.
Founded in 2016, the Matabeleland FC in a non-profit organization established in Zimbabwe and which heads the MFC national team and governs local regional tournaments within the traditional kingdom of the Ndebele People. Today, this region has been incorporated into Zimbabwe with its capital founded at Bulawayo, a culturally significant region for the native populations.
CONIFA, or The Confederation of Independent Football Associations, is a non-profit organization established in Sweden in 2013. This organization allows for teams that are not yet recognized by FIFA to have the chance to perform and garner recognition towards their name. Today, CONIFA has 47 members consisting of countries, historical sites, minorities, and stateless nations.