NewsLocalAfrican asylum seekers' basketball 'Hope Team' lives up to its word (PHOTOS)

African asylum seekers’ basketball ‘Hope Team’ lives up to its word (PHOTOS)

Life for a group of African asylum seekers in Cyprus has got just a bit easier as they get to play the game they love – thanks to the love for basketball of coach Costas Englezos.

A year ago, an amateur basketball team known as ‘Hope Team’ that is comprised solely of African asylum seekers started off practice at a primary school’s grounds in Ayios Dometios, Nicosia.

This is a pioneering initiative that gives the players a glimmer of hope for their integration into the Mediterranean island’s society, Philenews reports.

Hope Team 2
Hope Team 2

As for the professional coach of displaced basketball team Dighenis-Akrita Morphou, himself, the team was the realisation that these youth need a safe space to explore their talents.

The team relies exclusively on the voluntary contribution of Eglezzos and his assistants, Christos Alexandrides and Etinosa Erevbenagie-Johnbull.

All three are very well aware how sports can be a powerful tool for integration, relief, health promotion and human connection.

Finding sponsors was the second big step that Englezos undertook and succeeded in securing the support of Hellenic Bank, Cyprus Basketball Federation, and UNHCR Cyprus.

Hope Team 1
Hope Team 1

The team meets every Monday evening and some of the players come straight after a hard day’s work and others by bus from far areas far away from Nicosia.

Englezos told Philenews that this is a very well-structured team.

“Some players are very good handlers, others excellent scorers and all together make up a highly competitive team that could comfortably compete in championships,” he added.

Hope Team 4
Hope Team 4

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