THE ORGANISERS of new football sessions for Bromsgrove asylum seekers have appealed for kit for players and funding for the project.
The asylum seekers revel in the weekly sessions even though most have to borrow boots and some have to play in jeans because the only clothes they have, are those they were wearing when they arrived in the UK.
But the popular sessions cost £50-a-week to run and the charitable donations that kick-startd the matches, are fast running out.
Mohammad, an asylum seeker from Iran, said; “The football is very, very good for me, for relaxing, I love football.
“In the hotel, all time is sleeping, eating, sleeping, so football is good.”
He added he would happily play every day,
A team of four footballing friends set up the matches after the need was highlighted by Bromsgrove and District Asylum Seekers Support.
Olly Kay, one of the organisers, said the asylum seekers clearly loved the games.
“Some of them from Afghanistan have only played cricket before but they still have a laugh.
“Nobody takes it too seriously, they just come along and enjoy it.
“For them, it’s not about playing competitive football, it’s just about getting out and having a laugh.”
The players live at a local hotel. Most have precious few items of clothing and need kit to play in.
Olly added: “Some of the guys turn up in pumps, slip on-shoes, sliders.
“One of them, the other week, was just wearing socks because his shoes weren’t great.”
General sports kit, such as shorts and tops are needed.
The Bromsgrove-based Harry Bennett Foundation has loaned astro-turf shoes for the men to wear, but ideally they would like boots that fit and some basic kit as well.
Olly said: “These guys are always seen walking round town, no one interacts with them, they keep to themselves.
“They come here and we just play football with them – we speak the universal language of football.
“We have some good banter even though we don’t speak the same language.
“And it’s obvious how much they all appreciate it.”