United for football – an event with a difference
Football can create a tsunami of controversies from all angles starting from a simple penalty, whether it should have been given or not.
At the event ‘United for football,’ there was none of this. This was an anti-racism football tournament organised by Graffiti to commemorate the memory of Lassana Cisse Souleymane. This was a normal man who was just killed simply because of skin colour, death of its kind for an island like Malta. Disgust is the best word to describe the ripple feeling on the island for this atrocious heartless and nonsense killing.
Lassana was killed in Hal Far in an attack aimed at instilling fear in migrant communities in Malta. A cowardly act.
The aim of United for football was to literally unite for football. Alex Caruana, a Graffiti representative told Loonynews that the event was organised as evidence that fear and racism can never trump the basic human desire for friendship and solidarity.
Caruana, a staunch activist simply summarised it by saying ‘if we can play football together, we can do everything together.’ This is a very true statement. In many countries, professional players are respected and seen as idols irrespective of their skin colour. They become idols because they are good at what they do, it’s as simple as that.
Italy at a time is an exception to this because it’s not the first time that a game is stopped because of racism call outs, unheard of at this day and age. That said, once this happens, the Serie A immobilises in support of that club and player.
The United for football event happened last Sunday with the participation of 16 teams, with seven players each. Teams were formed from different nationalities; Maltese, Lassana’s friends from Hal Far, Palestinians and Besedo’s team (a gaming company).
The final winner was Besedo.
All players did an act of grand solidarity because the heat was beating on them, yet they persisted in finishing till the end.
Caruana explained that such events are normal in Europe and they should also become a norm on our island. They serve an educational purpose as well as cultural exchange and knowledge. It’s educational in itself.
The Malta Football Association gave its helping hand in the event by sponsoring free water throughout the event. St. Paul’s Missionary College (St.Agatha), also put its help by giving space for the tournament to be held
United for football also included fun activities for kids and concluded with an Open Mic session in collaboration with Inizjamed.