BEIRUT – The Lebanon is a little big state which occupies a territory lying between Syria and Israel. It’s a fascinating country that unfortunately bears the scars of many conflicts and wars throughout history. Lebanon is however a symbol of different populations, cultures and religions living side by side (there are 18 religions that are officially recognised by the state) and this can be seen by visiting the centre of Beirut, where three different religions can be seen in close contact: two churches stand next to the beautiful mosque of Al-Amin, a splendid example of how religions can all exist together.
The Inter Campus project aims to reach objectives like this: to help children from different religious backgrounds live together, learn together and grow together through the medium they all share – the passion they have for football.
During this first trip of the season, which unfortunately was delayed because of the recent tension in the Middle-East, Roberto Picardi and I were able to work in both Inter Campus centres in the Lebanon: the first which is mainly Christian is in
the north of the country, in Jounieh to be precise, which extends to
cover a small area of nearby Beirut, and the second is in the south,
in the city of Tiro near the border with Israel and almost totally
the training sessions on the Beirut pitch – chosen because the
official one where we usually train was playing host to an enormous
Christmas tree – and the day trip to Tiro, the Inter Campus
children enjoyed themselves playing a mini-tournament with
integration as an end purpose. It was during the tournament that
Sharbà stood out, a little "Intercampista" who was
prepared to help me by collecting the rubbish from the pitch and who
promised me that, as long as his coaches agreed, he would keep the
pitch tidy and ready for matches. The mini-tournament involved over
100 children between the ages of 8 and 14, who took part in the
matches wearing their blue and black shirts and playing together
enthusiastically, without worrying about the barriers that have
for now, Lebanon. We’ll be back with the teacher/trainer course and
to set up more training sessions and matches, all together of course!