Search
  • Stefan

Chagos Football Association at the CONIFA World Cup


Chagossians made history this month, as they represented their community in the CONIFA World Cup.

The CONIFA World Cup is the largest international tournaments for unrecognised states. Other countries taking part included Somaliland, Kurdistan and the hosts, Abkhazia (formally part of Georgia).

Results didn't got the Chagossians way, with three defeats and a draw before being eliminated, but the tournament really helped raise awareness of the Chagossians' struggle and brought the whole community together.

In the opening game against the hosts, which the Chagos Islands team eventually lost 9-0, the home fans even finished the game cheering enthusiastically for the Chagos Islands. The team even managed to a large flag proclaiming “Back to our paradise — unforgotten Chagos,” which earned them a mild telling off for being a bit political.

Speaking to The Guardian, Chagos Islands coach Serge Jean-Louis summed up the balance between the awareness raising and sheer sporting battle that defined the tournament.

“Some of the teams say the tournament is political, others say it is only about football. For me, it’s both. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the Chagossian struggle through sport….It is very important for our team to be here and represent the Chagos Islands community.”

Chagos Islands take part in the CONIFA World Cup

Chagossians made history this month, as they represented their community in the CONIFA World Cup.

The CONIFA World Cup is the largest international tournaments for unrecognised states. Other countires taking part included Somaliland, Kurdistan and the hosts, Abkhazia (formally part of Georgia).

Results didn't got the Chagossians way, with three defeats and a draw before being eliminated, but the tournament really helped raise awareness of the Chagossians' struggle and brought the whole community together.

In the opening game against the hosts, which the Chagos Islands team eventually lost 9-0, the home fans even finished the game cheering enthusiastically for the Chagos Islands. The team even managed to a large flag proclaiming “Back to our paradise — unforgotten Chagos,” which earned them a mild telling off for being a bit political.

Speaking to The Guardian, Chagos Islands coach Serge Jean-Louis summed up the balance between the awareness raising and sheer sporting battle that defined the tournament.

“Some of the teams say the tournament is political, others say it is only about football. For me, it’s both. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the Chagossian struggle through sport….It is very important for our team to be here and represent the Chagos Islands community.”

And raise awareness it certainly did. BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, the New Statesman, ESPN, Newsweek and ABC among others.

And that is not to mention a host of international publications which picked up the story, and the considerable interest picked up on social media.

Of course, as Serge mentioned, we can't forget what an experience it is for young Chagossians to represent the land they have never had a chance to live in, or in most cases even visit. The tournament was at heart a great way to celebrate the strength and vibrnacy of the unique Chagossian community.

It could not have happened either without the generosity of UK Chagos Support Association donors. As Sabrina Jean, the Secretary of the Chagos FA who organised the team's trip to the tournament, told The Independent “It was really hard to raise funds….we had to crowdfunding, to find sponsers.”

When the team asked for funds, you delivered. Thank you to everyone for helping to make this special event, which has been a great boost for the community and the campaign, happen.

And that is not to mention a host of international publications which picked up the story, and the considerable interest picked up on social media.

Of course, as Serge mentioned, we can't forget what an experience it is for young Chagossians to represent the land they have never had a chance to live in, or in most cases even visit. The tournament was at heart a great way to celebrate the strength and vibrnacy of the unique Chagossian community.

It could not have happened either without the generosity of UK Chagos Support Association donors. As Sabrina Jean, the Secretary of the Chagos FA who organised the team's trip to the tournament, told The Independent “It was really hard to raise funds….we had to crowdfunding, to find sponsers.”

When the team asked for funds, you delivered. Thank you to everyone for helping to make this special event, which has been a great boost for the community and the campaign, happen.

#Chagos #ChagosFootball #ChagosFootballAssociation #CONIFA #CONIFAWorldCup

32 views