Two teams in Sussex, made up of migrants and refugees, played a friendly football match against each other for the first time at Falmer Sports Complex on Sunday 18 July 2021. The match between Brighton based Manor FC and Nations United from Chichester, was considered a great success.
This was Manor’s first ever outing after nearly two years of training and preparation as part of a funded project for VYD CIC whereas Nations United, who were born out of Sanctuary in Chichester have played a handful of games previously.
Played out in searing 28-degree heat, the match was played over 3 periods of 30 minutes, with the first two periods being evenly contested before Nations United ran away with the game as tiredness and inexperience crept into Manor’s play. The final score was 6-2 to Nations United, but the score-line was secondary to the success of the event.
After the recent hate-filled fall out following England’s defeat in the Euro Championship final, it was refreshing and uplifting to see two teams wanting to restate the power that the beautiful game can still have to help drive integration and overcome prejudice and discrimination.
Players within the teams have found community through football and there’s a drive to recruit and include new players through the association between VYD and Sanctuary. There is a return game being lined up for August and more being planned with other migrant and refugee teams.