Cote d’Ivoire – Nigeria – Congo – Zimbabwe : African migrants living in Russia play soccer on Red Square

Players from Syria, Afghanistan, and Zimbabwe battled it out at an event on Moscow's Red Square aimed at raising awareness about the plight of refugees. The UNHCR says there were 126,000 refugees in Russia in 2017, with the overwhelming majority from Ukraine. © DR

Casablanca (ADV) – Migrants from Africa and Asia staged their own version of the World Cup in Moscow on Tuesday, playing soccer matches in Red Square in an event held to highlight challenges faced by refugees.

Players from Syria, Afghanistan and African countries including Ivory Coast, Congo and Nigeria took part in a series of matches in a FIFA-designated Football Park by the Kremlin walls.

Russia showed during the World Cup that it is open and does not tolerate discrimination or xenophobia.

“This event is to draw attention to the problems of discrimination, xenophobia,” said Svetlana Gannushkina, an advocate for migrant rights and head of the Civic Assistance Committee.

Traoere Kadjale, 27, from Ivory Coast, said he was delighted to play soccer in the center of Moscow.

“It’s really fun for us, it brings us joy,” he said.

© Bur-csa – ADV