Syrians may debut on Brazilian soccer on Sunday

Two young refugees are fit to play for the team Pérolas Negras against Bela Vista for the Campeonato Carioca Série B2 Sub-20. The game takes place at 12h45 in Itaboraí.

From the Newsroom

São Paulo – Two Syrian refugees that came to Brazil last year to practice soccer may debut in championship games this weekend, according to information released on Friday (7) by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Ahmad (pictured, R) and Hafith (L) are part of the group of five Syrians that arrived in Brazil last year to practice in Pérolas Negras, soccer team and school in the city of Paty do Alferes, Rio de Janeiro, from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

According to UNHCR, both players are registered at Campeonato Carioca Série B2 Sub-20 and may debut on Sunday (9) at Alzirão stadium in Itaboraí in Greater Rio de Janeiro. Pérolas Negras faces Bela Vista at 12h45 pm.

Ahmad is 17 years old and was born in Homs, Syria. He left his home country before he was 10 because of the civil conflict. “Every year before the war, a team used to take ten boys to practice in Qatar. I was selected but couldn’t go because then the war started,” said the midfielder. According to the UNHCR, he is a big Neymar fan.

Hafith was born Daara, Southwest Syria, and was nicknamed Marcelo because he is a great fan of the Brazilian left-back who plays for Real Madrid. “I’m feeling very good here [in Brazil]. My only difficulty, really, is the language, but I know I’ll overcome that challenge, and everything is going to be fine,” he said, according to UNHCR.

Translated by Guilherme Miranda

Ana Rosa Alves/UNIC

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