Sudanese refugees about to throw balls into a hoop during a basketball game in Cairo, Egypt September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
CAIRO (Reuters) - Twice a week refugees from Sudan and South Sudan gather in a church courtyard in Cairo to play basketball, unfazed by political differences at home.
The group includes Christians and Muslims, some of them resident in Egypt since before their two countries divided in 2011.
“We’ve all been friends even since before the split,” said Montaser Mohamed from Khartoum, Sudan’s capital.
“We used to play before it became divided into South and North. But there is no politics between us, none of that at all. Here we just play ball.”
The refugees play on a court attached to the College De La Sainte Famille church, in the bustling central neighborhood of Ramses.
They draw on a pool of roughly 90 South Sudanese and 40 Sudanese players, and around 30 others from elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.
“We welcome all ethnicities and nationalities, as well as Egyptians, but Egyptians have clubs and other places available to them to play,” said one of the players, 31-year-old Riyak Joseph.
All love basketball, and some have big ambitions. Joseph wants to follow in the footsteps of late NBA basketball player and refugee Manute Bol, a native of his South Sudan hometown of Turalei.
Abraham Piom, Joseph’s 19-year-old cousin, hopes to study law or become a professional basketball player.
“We have a dream. Our community members have played in the NBA, so even me, I am interested in playing in the NBA,” said Piom, who had feared for his life because of violence back home.
“I feel security is good here. That’s why I took the opportunity to go to school here, to complete my education.”
Reporting by Yousef Saba and Mohamed Zaki; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Gareth Jones
Newer news items:
- Opinion: Why South Sudan should try Parliamentary system over Presidential system - 11/10/2018
- Recruited but not ‘child soldiers’: Returning girls in South Sudan risk being left without support - 10/10/2018
- South Sudan: First South Sudan River Convoy in Five Years, Delivers UN Aid to Remote Areas - 10/10/2018
- Campaign aims to cut rise in suicides sparked by South Sudan war - 10/10/2018
- Red Cross ready to secure release of detainees in South Sudan - 10/10/2018
Older news items:
- Researchers Say Human Toll of South Sudan War 'as Bad as Iraq or Syria' - 10/10/2018
- South Sudan civil war taking a devastating toll on mental health - 10/10/2018
- UN, AU officials see positive progress in peace implementation in South Sudan - 09/10/2018
- Coverage: Women’s participation is key for sustaining peace in South Sudan - 09/10/2018
- UN, AU ask South Sudan’s warring sides to deliver on peace deal - 09/10/2018
Popular news items:
- No oil in troubled waters - 25/03/2014 - Read 19509 times
- School exam results in South Sudan show decline - Bikya Masr - 01/04/2012 - Read 16225 times
- Former Lost Boy Gives Back to South Sudan - Care2.com (blog) - 31/05/2012 - Read 14922 times
- NDSU student from South Sudan receives scholarship - In-Forum - 29/09/2012 - Read 14430 times
- With prisons full, South Sudan to introduce mobile courts to clear backlog of ... - Washington Post - 11/10/2012 - Read 11969 times