City of Sanctuary Dublin organised a “Friendship and Solidarity ” football tournament and cultural exchange event between the Chinese and Syrian communities on Sunday, February 5th, 2017, during the Chinese New Year season. The event was a wonderful success and featured on the main evening national TV news. RTE news
This rematch was inspired by a World Cup qualifier match, which took place in Beijing last October. The Syrian National Team beat the Chinese team 1-0 with a beautiful goal, and won China’s heart by showing their spirit and resilience during a difficult time.
City of Sanctuary Dublin volunteer Tian Yu Lloyd floated the idea of this rematch among the Chinese and Syrian communities in Dublin and various supporting organisations, and received overwhelming support from all sides.
In the end, three Chinese teams and one Syrian team came together in an indoor football centre in Dublin and played two rounds together. The Syrian team won the final 5-4.
Their families and friends watched the matches from the viewing gallery, exchanged food and played an intercultural quiz together. Children also had an opportunity to experience Chinese arts and crafts and played on the pitch.
The Diversity FC multicultural women’s football team also came to play in aid of this event.
Friendship between the two communities was developed as the captains exchanged phone numbers and arranged to play again in the future.
Sports against Racism Ireland(SARI), Welcome Cafe, the Garda Diversity Division, Love Actually Chinese Charity group, the Syrian community of Dublin, and Dublin Indoor Football Centre were among the contributors of this event. Everyone left with a buzz, a smile, lots of new friends, and a hunger for more.