Kicking Footballs for Peace in Monza

MONZA, FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT OF PEACE 2012

Many say that peace can be reached through sports, the world famous Pelè himself has mentioned that he has experienced how football can stop conflict at least temporarily, and this was exactly UPF Monza had in mind.

On Sunday the 24th of June the final matches of the UPF Monza’s Trophy of Peace were held. It was the final day of a nearly 3 month long football tournament, organized by Carlo Chierico, the Monza UPF president.

Since mid April, local teams of all kinds of racial and religious backgrounds have been facing each other every Sunday in this 7 player football tournament.

The final day of the tournament commenced (in over 30°C temperature) with a ‘Fair-play Tournament’ between the young UPF International team, composed of highschoolers and University students from the Bergamo-Milan area, that played against the team made up of young men of Tibetan origin. UPF Monza has created a very strong cooperation with organizations fighting for the rights of Tibet.

After the UPF International victory, the ‘Young Muslims of Monza-Brianza’ won third place of the Trophy of Peace playing against one of the two Bangladesh teams participating in the tournament .

First and second place were an intense match between African Football and Ecuador with the large victory of the African team supported by bongo playing and chanting fans, with a result of 5-2.

Having assisted many of the games, you realize how football, sports, athletics and other areas of life like music and arts, are the common base for the youth from all around the world. Not only that but you see how under the surface there is much more than meets the eye.

You notice young men playing the game, switching smoothly back and forth from their ‘mother tongue’ to Italian while speaking to each other. You realize that immigration is not just immigration anymore but it is also integration, and we live in a moment where there is a new generation composed of individuals with real multicultural upbringing.

Another African team that unfortunately didn’t make it to the finals was composed of African refugees. Men that ran from Libya, that have arrived recently in refugee camps, have used this game of football as one of their first opportunities to interact with their Italian neighbors.

The build up of the tournament brought us to the final Sunday:

There were Tibetian flags and Equadorian flags, African Bongos and Muslim prayers, second generation immigrants and Italian students all mixed together into one stadium. It was an amazing experience and it was fun.

For more pictures and information check out the official website:

http://www.trofeodellapace.org/

By Mika Kanno

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s