On Saturday, a group of more than 300 kids kicked off their very own rendition of the FIFA World Cup at Idlib, a city in the northwest of Syria. The special event will be part of an ongoing series of matches that will be an exact replica to that of the World Cup and will end on December 18th. There will be 32 squads that will correspond to all the countries participating in the global event.
Held at Idlib’s municipal stadium, the event kicked off with the opening ceremony which brought together many excited young faces who took part in the first match of the series between the host country Syria and Ecuador, mirroring the official World Cup schedule. On that same day, a multicolored extravaganza was in full force with many of the kids arriving in jerseys of this year’s World Cup teams including Japan and Costa Rica.
An Event Spotlighting Displaced Youth
Dubbed “camps World Cup”, this special event that was organized by NGO Violet has been undergoing preparations for several months and saw the likes of children aged 10 to 14 training and battling it out on the football field to get a chance to take part in the tournament. Beyond encouraging kids to take part in sport activities, one of NGO Violet’s members Ibrahim Sarmini spoke up about the bigger goal behind this event:
“To focus international attention on displaced youth and those who work.”Ibrahim Sarmini Via Barrons
Since 2011 and the start of the civil war, millions of residents were displaced from their homes and today the struggle continues. At Idlib which is home to three million people, it is said that more than half of its residents are displaced and when it comes to camps World Cup, 25 of its teams are made up of children who live in camps for displaced people.
So far, within Syria, the event has already gained a lot of attention and traction as it did not just attract players to the field, many young kids came to watch and cheer their favorite teams, bringing an air of support and comradery to the green pitches of Idlib’s stadium. Everyday, matches will commence between different teams and kids will cheer from the sidelines, all in hopes that the world will turn their attention to Syria and its displaced youth.