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Thank You to Ellan Vannin: Darfur United’s 12th Man

Editor’s Note: This was originally posted on darfurunited.com by i-ACT Project Coordinator Sara-Christine Dallain.

Forever Darfur United's 12th man, Ellan Vannin. Photo: Gabriel Stauring / i-ACT

Despite the scoreboard, team Ellan Vannin enthusiastically chanted and clapped for Darfur United from the stadium stands—never ceasing or relenting, as if the match was tied and DU was fighting for a win. The next day, when Ellan Vannin won their own match, the team ran over to the Darfur United players in the stands, celebrating with them, jumping up and down together, again chanting Darfur United, Darfur United…!

I will never forget those moments. To see the Ellan Vannin players so proudly accept and celebrate Darfur United still brings tears to my eyes. To see our players, a group of young refugee men who have grown up in the isolation of refugee camps, be so embraced, literally, by a group of guys from a small island in the Irish Sea was incredibly rewarding for me.