Editor’s note: This was originally posted on darfurunited.com by DU Head Coach Mark Hodson.
The Darfur United boys enjoy the dream tour to Sweden at a local cultural museum during one of their off days. Photo: Sean Toshima / i-ACT
I suspect that the player’s spend a lot of time in the refugee camps “imagining…..” Imagining what it’s like “out there” in the World as we know it. The camps are a dark place at night, with limited electricity…there’s not much to do but imagine….I wonder where their mind takes them… of the dreams they still carry.
As the reality of our journey takes shape, I wonder what it feels like for the players to take footsteps in a country that is so far removed from the monotonous routine that is daily life in a refugee camp. To move freely, to eat good, clean, healthy food and not be concerned as to when the next meal will arrive, or have the need to portion meager rations to last the week.
I wonder how it feels for the team to step into the fresh clean air of Ostersund, on a beautiful clear day and breathe in the magic that seems to trail closely behind this incredible group of young men.
I wonder if they are starting to prepare for the reality of returning to the camp.
Today we are preparing for our third* game.
The games are difficult against teams with much greater experience, resources and natural health. We find ourselves under tremendous pressure for the duration of the 90-minute matches, against players who don’t let up.
Our players are malnourished, carrying injuries and have a limited base of athletic training from their time in the refugee camps……We don’t want our opponents to hold back or treat us differently, we want to play.