REPORT: Nations United’s First National Tournament Outing, An All-Round Success – DOST Cup of Nations 2020
Thanks to Charles Ademeno of Fulham FC, who introduced us to the FA network, we were alerted to the DOST Tournament due to take place in East London on 20th February 2020. Sanctuary in Chichester (SiC) applied and our refugee team Nations United, with players from six countries, was duly accepted.
Nine Nations United players from Chichester, Barnham, Worthing and London Victoria made their way to the excellent West Ham United training facilities at Beckton in London. Accompanied by Manager Duncan Barratt, they arrived just after 3:00p.m.
Duncan reports: “The changing rooms were perhaps not designed for 12 teams of nine changing at the same time but that minor inconvenience was quickly dealt with and the Nations United players made their way to the pitch. The tournament was arranged with two groups of six teams with the winners of each group to play each other in the final.
The group games were completed with teams simply rotating from pitch to pitch so games came thick and fast with little gap between (except for one enforced break mid-game as a torrential hail storm blew through the ground). Nations United won their group with four wins and a draw – all physical and competitive games with quality football played by all sides. So to the final – Nations United got themselves ahead against very strong opposition but were eventually defeated 2-1. So, Runners Up – a team cup and medals for each of the players. A superb achievement on the pitch.
Importantly there was so much more for Nations United to be proud of than the significant footballing success. The behaviour of the players throughout the long journey and long day was impeccable. The attitude of all of the players and their willingness to support each other as a team on and off the pitch was first class. And finally their ability to respect the opposition in victory and defeat was a credit to them as well as their Captain Jelani. We all enjoyed the day and were proud to be a part of it.”
The success of Nations United comes of course from every individual involved, but a great deal is thanks to the ongoing support of the University of Chichester. They provide facilities and student coaches free of charge for training players on a weekly basis. This is consolidated by encouragement and regular participation in the PowerPlay league – two teams of nine players competing each week until the shutdown. Players come from all over the South Coast to be part of the Nations United team, and West Sussex County Council generously provide vital travel warrants as well as consent forms for the young refugees and asylum seekers to travel to training sessions and matches – there is no doubt that players living in Bognor, Worthing etc, would simply not be able to afford to continue attendance without this support.
Language update: we are in the process of providing the uTalk language learning app to individual footballers. This will help each one regardless of mother tongue, to use their time, especially in isolation, to make some progress with their English, on topics in, and hopefully beyond football! A dashboard is being set up showing points acquired while practicing English, which makes a fun, competitive environment for learning.
– By Susie Kershaw