This is Azadî.
He’s a 20-year-old Kurd and a bloody good goalie who lives in the camp in Grand Synthe.
He’s currently busy training for next weeks football tournament The Liberté Cup!
When I saw him the other day at the training ground, he was visibly excited and ready to play, rushing to get changed. He shook my hand with his goalie gloves already on.
He stood out as we watched the training, a few of the spectators commenting, ‘the goalie’s good isn’t he!!!’
The amazing physio Daniel, who has been volunteering with Fuze in the run up to the tournament, told us that Az is always getting injured. He injured his leg in the first training session and since then Daniel has repeatedly told Az to be careful, and maybe not to play…but Az is determined and insistent, and has continued to play in every single session, with a smile on his face.
After training the other day we drove Az back to the camp in the car, to save him having to walk. As we walked to where the car was parked, he pretended to steal my bracelet, and put his snapback on my head in return, like a trade. He soon gave me back my bracelet but when I went to give him back the hat he refused, telling me that it was a present. His English is amazing and he knew the way confidently, directing Nils from the passenger seat.
He chatted to us about anything and everything, telling us his favourite team is Barcelona and his favourite player, Ronaldihno.
As we approached the camp, we passed the rows of police parked up outside it. It made me sad to watch him walk innocently past them and back to the reality of where he currently has to live.