Following a highly successful initiative taken across a number of agencies including The Gardai, Limerick City and County Council , The FAI, Limerick Sports Partnership and supported by LEDP and Markets Field with help from Analog Devices Sports and Social Club a friendly match was played at the end of July in Markets Field between the Limerick Arab African All-Stars (a soccer team made up of boys and girls from Knockalisheen Direct Provision Centre) and a Shelbourne schoolboy selection which had a large number of post-direct provision players in their ranks, predominantly Sudanese stars.
The match was organized and supported by Sporting Limerick and The Markets Field and such was its success that moves have been afoot since then to foster other initiatives using soccer to help further socio-cultural integration in Limerick.
The FAI supported the work being done and very kindly sponsored through acting CEO, Noel Mooney, tickets for the Ireland-New Zealand match on the evening of November 14th.
The excitement was high on Northside as a bus sponsored by LEDP and Regeneration took the boys and girls to The Aviva Stadium for the game. This was the first time in Dublin for some and for all, a first international fixture. 48 travelled on the bus including 10 FAI Garda vetted volunteer minders. The children and minders thanked the FAI, LEDP and Regeneration for their kind support.
To quote Mohammed “Pride of Darfur” Nourredine:
“This is my dream I have while sleeping, to see Ireland play in their national stadium. I cannot sleep all nights until the bus comes. Thank you to everyone who made this possible… When Ireland score a goal, I will hug all my friends, Noah, Harry, Charlie, and Hamdy”.
Khaled, father of Aboud Abdarrahman added:
“From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for this opportunity for my son, we treasure it as a family, Up Limerick, Up Ireland”.