Evo-Stik Southern League club Cirencester Town have been helping a teenage Syrian refugee whose father was killed in the civil war to integrate into their community through football.
Hidar Almustafa, 18, has been joining in training sessions with the development squad at the Centurions after fleeing to the Cotsworlds with his Syrian family, one of two who’ve been settled in Cirencester by Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
Since turning up to his first training session in camouflage trousers, the young Syrian has been kitted out by the EVO-STIK League Southern Premier Division club with kit and donated boots and last week was presented with a team shirt by his teammates.
Hidar, who speaks little English, is believed to have been affiliated with the Al-Karamah Sports Club who played in the Syrian Premier League before the war forced him to flee.
According to Centurions development manager Alan Lloyd, the teenager is in robust health again after training with his side and already looking to join a Cirencester League team.
Lloyd told www.wiltsglosstandard.co.uk: “Hidar has come on in leaps and bounds in his six weeks with us and is growing in confidence every week.”
Adele Owen, of GARAS, said: “The Syrian Vulnerable Persons’ Resettlement Programme was set up by the Home Office in 2015 and it is good see Hidar mixing within the community but then football is a universal language.”