'Fairytales Exist': Migrants Get A Football Team Of Their Own
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Most of the players on the Koa Bosco soccer team in Southern Italy work in citrus groves. They live in tents or shipping containers. The Koa Bosco players are a team drawn from African migrants who live at a government-run camp near the town of Rosarno, and they're also now champions. They won a playoff game this week to put them atop their division in the southern Calabria region. La Repubblica, the Italian newspaper, reports the team was formed by a Catholic priest in 2013 and the players have had tough times in the country where African immigrants have been both welcomed and resented or worse. The Koa Bosco players have had to endure some racial epithets at matches. A brawl broke out on the field at a game in March, and some of their players were hit by stones thrown from the stands. Both teams drew penalties. But victory has also made them a local favorite in Southern Italy as they advance to the next level of competition. Their Facebook page rolls on with praise and tributes. Their coach Domenico Mammoliti says, yes fairy tales exist. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.