FURD's first participation in the SARI INTER-CULTURAL SOCCER FESTIVAL, held in Dublin's Pheonix Park over the weekend of 9-10th September, was a fabulous experience for the 13 young people and workers involved.
This was the tenth time that FARE partner Sport Against Racism in Ireland have organised the event, and the large turnout of teams - 48 in the men's tournament - musicians, dancers and spectators, was testimony to the quality of the grassroots work carried out by SARI during the past decade.
The FURD team, mainly made up of players from the Positive Futures coaching sessions organised by coaches Desbon Rubamba and Luis Silva at Sheffield United's Academy, found the going tough, being one of the youngest teams in the tournament. However, a win and two draws meant they finished runners-up in their first round group, so qualifying for the second stage on the Sunday.
Here they opened up with an impressive 4-0 win over Dublin Middle East, and only needed a draw in their next game, against Galway, to qualify for the last eight knockout stage. Hopes were high at 0-0 with five minutes to go, but the power and physique of the predominantly African side from Galway began to have a telling effect, and they ran out 2-0 winners, knocking FURD out as a result.
Amjid 'Jimmy' Tahir, trainee youth worker in charge of the FURD party commentated: 'The whole experience was unforgettable, in particular the hospitality and friendship shown by everyone we met. I was very proud of the behaviour and attitude of the young people from Sheffield, who were a credit to the FURD Positive Futures programme. We can't wait to return to Dublin next year'.