Refugee football team Nations United reached the final of their first 5-a-side tournament on Friday night, organised by the University of Chichester.
They eventually lost to PE students from the university and Roger Pask, chairman of Sanctuary in Chichester which supports refugees, called it a ‘magnificent occasion’.
Nations United is made up of around 20 young men from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Southern Sudan, Somalia, Iran and Albania.
They are all refugees from persecution or seeking asylum from war zones who live either in hostels or lodgings in various parts of West Sussex, including Bognor, Chichester and Worthing.
The competition was organised by Danny Potter – senior lecturer in sport with responsibility for football studies at the Uni.
Teams made up of staff and students and a team from Westgate Leisure Centre were also competing with three teams Sanctuary teams, with Sanctuary A making the final.
They won their first full 11-a-side game at the end of March.
“This is the beginning of what we hope will become a sustained partnership between the university and Sanctuary in Chichester for these young people,” said Jon Bowra, who with his colleague Steve Gough, is leading and managing this project on behalf of Sanctuary in Chichester.
Mr Pask said: “This was a magnificent occasion.
“Football is a great way for these young men to become part of our community, to develop a wide range of skills, have fun and build a sense of belonging.”