Current Affairs
Syria Gżira FC: New football team in Malta includes a mixture of nationalities

A Maltese soldier is among a group of amateur football players from a number of countries who have just formed an international football team which will take part in the local amateur championship.  Coach Omar Rababah said that the team Syria Gżira FC is the best example of diversity.

TVM spoke with a few of the players.

Every week at the Santa Venera football ground,  a group of young foreigners who live in Malta keep their appointment to practice the game. They form part of the new team Syria Gżira FC.

Abd Al Aziz said,  ”I came to Malta in 2013 on a boat. I had friends with me and 200 people died. But I managed to make it.”

Lucky Chizobor said, ”Life was at stake in Nigeria. You’ve got to take the risk to make a life here in Malta.”

Nurudeen Mohammed said,  ”I came by boat. I was rescued by the rescuers.”

Al Kurt Hussein cannot go back to Syria. His village was destroyed by war. “I like Malta a lot and have stayed here for good. I have been here 12 years. I came to train here with our team Syria Gżira.”

Bashir Wakil has been living in Malta for 15 years. He learned how to speak Maltese in three months and people do not even realise he is Syrian.

”I am now 22 years old. I am still not Maltese. My nationality is Syrian, kind of. I came to join this team because I really liked the idea of an international team. ”

The team of Syria Gżira FC is an example of what football is capable of doing…bringing people together.

Al Kurt Hussein said, ”for me they are like my brothers, I respect them and they respect me.”

”They are like a family to me now. They’re good Maltese people. Maltese people are good. I love them.”

The coach, Omar Rababah, explained that this idea came from the Syrian community. However, he did not just want the team to be made up of Syrian footballers.

”Today we have a real international team which means we have guys from Somalia, Nigeria, Ghana, Syria, Palestine, Sudan, and even a Maltese soldier. We do not close our doors to anyone. The idea is for us to celebrate diversity with the most beautiful game in the world: football.”

Omar Rababah said that racism in Malta is felt the most on social media. He expressed his belief that activities such as this help with integration.

”When they see people like this playing with them, automatically the barrier of racism is broken especially when there is a good player because then they try to take him away from us.”

A the moment Syria Gżira FC are training for the match on Saturday against Paola Kordin.

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