LFC FoundationChampion of the Month: November 2023
Mohammed Ahmed is crowned LFC Foundation COTM for November 2023.
Mohammed was nominated for the award by LFC Foundation Inclusion Coordinator, Liam Gerrard for his fantastic commitment towards the Refugee & Asylum Seeker Football programme.
LFC Foundation work alongside the Club’s Red Together team to ensure that all programmes are fully inclusive. As part of our football provision, LFC Foundation’s inclusion department offers football sessions and tournaments for refugees and asylum seekers.
Liam said, “Mohammed was one of the first participants to attend our refugee football programme which started in Jan 2022. Since then, he has attended regularly on a weekly basis to our Monday and Thursday sessions at ASCC. He attended the first tournament we entered as a refugee team at Burnley, and also attended our most recent events including a refugee tournament held in Sheffield as well as our 11v11 Derby fixture against Everton's refugee team.”
“He has become a staple of not just the refugee football programme, but also a notorious figure of our Inclusion Department at the Foundation. He is a peacekeeper at sessions when the language barrier can be challenging for staff to tackle any sporting conflict, whilst also being a friendly introductory face to new participants in what can be quite a daunting and unfamiliar environment to settle into when English is not your first language.”
“He is now widely known amongst participants and staff as 'The Wise Man' due to his more experienced years and approachability in the groups”.
Mohammed arrived in Liverpool and was housed in a hotel before eventually finding accommodation in the Anfield area with his children where he has been able to pursue further education.
His commitment to sessions, as well as any events related to refugees, is a recognition of the importance the sessions have to him and his friend group.
The football provides a safe social space for people of similar challenges and journeys to come together and play in a universally loved sport.
Liam added “I think this is even more important for adults where making new friends with similar interests can be so challenging.”
“Because the majority of our participants speak different languages, they have been naturally encouraged to learn English and we have seen the improvement in language skills that Mohammed and others have had over the past 18 months.”
“For the programme itself, Mohammed has become a staple member of it and would be someone that staff would go to for advice or to put recommendations to. He has naturally become the unelected spokesperson for this community group”.
Mohammed said, “‘I have attended LFC Foundation’s refugee football programme for over one year now and it has become a staple part of my weekly routine.”
“Thanks to Liam and his team I have been able to meet new friends and keep in regular contact with old friends from when I lived in the hotel. Football provides us with a break from the challenges we face in our very isolated lives and provides us with a safe space and a sense of belonging.”