AFC Whitchurch's youth football team and coach Usman Malik (far left) donated equipment to Oasis Cardiff. Credit: Oasis Cardiff.

Cardiff’s newest football team eyes first fixture against club that donated kit, balls and goals

Oasis Cardiff refugee centre thanks AFC Whitchurch for ‘building confidence and camaraderie’

A NEWLY-FORMED football team hopes to play its first real fixture against AFC Whitchurch after a generous donation of equipment allowed them to get kitted up.

At the start of February, Oasis Cardiff refugee centre in Splott asked for donations from local football teams so they that could create their own team.

Usman Malik, a coach for AFC Whitchurch, answered the call for help and the club donated football boots, goal nets, cones and kit.

“I saw a message on our coaches’ WhatsApp group and I just had to help,” said Mr Malik.

“It is human nature to help those in need. It is why I do what I do. Every young person should be able to play football if they want to.

“Sport brings everyone together and it helps integrate people. Our team wanted to help as much as we could and give hope to those who have very little.”

Norman Gettings, communications and resettlement lead at Oasis Cardiff, said the centre is beyond grateful for the donation.

“Football is a big outlet for young people, no matter where they are from,” said Mr Gettings.

“We have seen a big difference in those that have joined the football team. It has helped them to bond and build confidence and camaraderie. The sport is great for team building.”

Some of the equipment donated by AFC Whitchurch. Credit: Oasis Cardiff.

Oasis Cardiff offers refugees and asylum seekers the chance to adapt to life in Cardiff and gives them a safe space to bond with each other.

The Oasis team is made up of 16 to 25-year-old men but they hope to expand to anyone who wishes to join. As they have just been set up, they have only played amongst themselves so far but they know what they’d like to be their first real fixture.

“After a little more training, we want to play AFC Whitchurch. It would be a fun way to say thanks for donating the equipment,” said Mr Gettings.

The donation from AFC Whitchurch is not the club’s first time mixing football with charity.

One year ago, Mr Malik and his wife Claire set up the Boot Room project at the club. When children grow out of their football boots, they can donate them to the project so that the boots can be passed on.

The project has provided 25 children with boots so far.

“Kids are constantly growing and it costs a lot to buy them new boots. We set this project up to stop good boots just going to a landfill,” said Mr Malik.

Oasis Cardiff’s football team is part of the centre’s Mind Our Future project and has been created in partnership with TGP Cymru. The project was set up to help the mental health and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers.

Mr Gettings said: “Activities like this are needed to help integrate people into the community. The majority of people at Oasis are asylum seekers who come to us with next to nothing.”