Turkish woman trains refugees for football team

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

Turkish-German Kader Yapıcı, 38, has been training 13 male Afghan refugees in a football team in the Germany city of Duisburg regularly since the beginning of November 2015. The refugees, between the ages of 14 and 27, play football twice a week under her supervision. Some of them have been a refugee in Germany for the last few years, whereas some others have only been in Germany for a few months or even weeks.

A gym teacher herself, Yapıcı says sports makes the integration of cultures possible and helps with boredom. Until the end of 2015, the Sports Federation supported the team and paid Yapıcı for her training hours. But beginning from 2016, she has been an unpaid volunteer, organizing everything on her own and is currently looking for sponsors. "We urgently need a permanent hall to be able to play, even in bad weather," she said.

The work with young people is a matter of the heart. "It is important that these young people actively participate in something and sport is particularly good for that," Yapıcı said.

"For months, they have been waiting for their asylum applications to be processed. They sit in their accommodation centers and do not know what will happen to them," Yapıcı said to Der Westen.

Abbas Ali, who is a player and also helps Yapıcı with coaching, said it is difficult for refugees to be in a foreign country where most do not speak the language and feel alone. However, he said sport, especially with a team, is a great way to exchange ideas and discuss problems, the Der Westen reported. The team now also has a name: FC New Citizens.

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