Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Germany Slams Swedish Somali Bandy Team

Via The Local:

The Swedish project to get Somali refugees to excel at bandy came to a 22-1 halt at the World Cup in Russia, but the captain said their global debut on the ice wasn't half bad.

Bandy, in which teams of 11 players reach extreme speeds on football pitch-sized ice fields, goes back more than a century, but it has caught on in only a handful of countries.

The sport is dominated by A-group nations Sweden and Russia, relegating an ice hockey superpower like Canada to the B group.

"I am so proud of the guys", captain Aboi Abdiirahiin told the TT news agency on Monday after the team lost to Germany by 22-1.

"But I thought we'd lose by 40-0, or more".

Borlänge municipality has helped the Somali refugees pick up their clubs, despite the rarity of ice in their home country.

"Soccer is easier", high school student Ahmed Hussein told the AFP news agency last year as his team began training for their world-cup debut.

"Everyone can play football, but ice-skating... It can be learned, of course, but it requires time and patience".

Leaving war-torn Somalia as a refugee four years ago, the now 18-year-old never imagined life as a bandy player.

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