The Great Nelson Mandela once said, “Sports has the power to inspire and unite people.”

During the Hero Intercontinental Cup in Ahmedabad, few Syrian fans were seen in attendance during India’s final round-robin game against Syria. The Western Asian country is going through the civil war since 2011 and eight years down the line, the war doesn’t seem to stop.

However, time and again, one thing has made the Syrians unite have been Football. In the 2017, the Syrian football team made history when they qualified for the playoff round in World Cup qualifiers, however, missed out on a spot in FIFA World Cup 2018 when they lost against Australia 3-2 on aggregate.

Khel now caught up with a some Syrian fans after the tournament and talked about how football has changed lives in the war-laden country. A Syrian fan who chooses to be anonymous quipped, “We came from Rajkot to support our team,” before adding, “We are part of the student exchange program and all of our study in Marwadi University in Rajkot. Government of India provided us with the scholarship”

“We come from Latakia province of Syria and football is the #1 sport in the country,” he said. The fan was also asked about who is his favorite player in the squad, to which he answered, “Ibrahim Alma is my favourite because he’s so strong and vocal so I like him.”

Discussing on how life has been at home in Syria, the person remained silent and told us he doesn’t “wish to speak over this issue.”

In search of getting a more closer look at the life in Syria, Khel Now caught up with a 25-years-old fan in Ahmad. As we began the conversation with the challenges they face living away from home, he said, “We live away from home that’s the only challenge we face apart from that there are no challenges here.” 

“The locals here are very supportive, they help us in our daily necessities and they are like our family,” he added.

Coming back to all things football, we asked Ahmad about his favorite football club which he follows, a question to which he answered, “We like Tashreen because it’s our club from our city Latakia.”

Furthermore, he went on, “Ibrahim Alma was my favourite player because he is very cute and he talks with everyone along with Firas Al-Khatib who is also my favourite.”

Ahmad hopes that one day the war in Syria will stop and the peace shall return in their country and justice would be served.