Amsterdam, november 9, 2023. By: Sarah Cuiper and Ibrahim Alfawal
A group of fifty-five newcomers from Almere, accompanied by Welcome app, went to the Johan Cruijff ArenA to watch the Netherlands vs. France match for the Euro 2024 qualifiers. Thanks to the KPN Mooiste Contact Fonds, the ambassadors could attend the game. As ambassadors of Welcome app, newcomers and locals volunteer to build a community in the municipality where they live. Currently, we have three active communities, each with more than 200 enthusiastic members, consisting of both locals and newcomers. For some newcomers who attended the game, it was a dream come true.
Mobin (23) hails from Iran and has had a passion for football since the age of seven. In Iran, he played for various teams, including Paykan, a well-known Iranian club. Nowadays, he dominates the football field at Sporting Almere.
He was surprised when he heard he could attend the match between the Netherlands and France. Mobin said, “A year ago, I was on the border of Iran, and now suddenly I was in the Johan Cruijff ArenA watching football between two great teams.” Mobin enjoyed the game and learned from it, saying, “For example, how Mbappé runs and moves.” The Dutch players also caught his attention; Dumfries and Van Dijk were his favorites.
“It was the most beautiful grass I have seen in stadiums.”
His goal is to reach a high level in Dutch football. He has taken the first steps in Budel and Almere. With his strong character and the fact that he doesn’t give up easily, he hopes to visit the ArenA more often, perhaps on the field as a player, he says with a grin.
Picture Reza (left) and Mobin (right)
The youngest participant who joined was 10-year-old Akbar. In the shelter, he is almost always in the gym playing football. His favorite position? “Attacking, because then you can score a lot of goals!” says Akbar. His father, Anar, about the game: “Previously, Akbar always said that Mbappé was his favorite player, but now he is a fan of the Netherlands.”
We were there when Moayed (21) found out he would go to the game; he started jumping and asked all sorts of questions like, “Am I really going to see the stadium?” and “Is it really the Dutch national football team?” Moayed talks about the feeling he got when he walked onto the stands. Moayed said, “My heart started beating faster when I entered the section and heard the fans cheering in the beautiful stadium.”
When the game was over, the journey back to Almere began. Everyone left the stadium with a good feeling and a new unforgettable memory. Every detail of the game was discussed, from the sound the ball made when it hit the post to the reactions of the rest of the audience. ‘’Oranje boven!’’