Last modified 15.3.2011 at 13:24
Football unites students
Text: Jaana Kangas Photos: Pekka Kallasaari
Football or soccer is one of the most popular sports, and it is played all over the world. Sports are an excellent way to meet new people – even if you do not have a common language.
Finnish Ville Honkanen and Nigerian exchange student Olabode Obe have played the past summer football and beach football in a very international environment. In their team, Raahe International, there are players from Finland to Ecuador and from Costa Rica to Syria.
– Our team was born rather easily as everyone was interested in football, the boys tell.
Raahe International has trained the summer in the Pitkäkari field in Raahe, and naturally also on the beach. They have played training matches with the women’s football team, FC Raahe.
– In the autumn we are going to continue indoors. Olabode has never played floorball before so we could teach him that, Ville laughs.
Finns don’t care
On the football field, Finns and foreigners are very different kinds of players and persons. Ville and Olabode have noticed a lot of differences between them.
– Foreigners are much more open and communicate more, Finns are more quiet and do not complain.
– You can offend Finns as much as you like, and everything is still okay, Olabode adds.
Ville and Olabode have learned a lot about each other and about different cultures during the summer. The boys tell that depending on the culture, people can think differently. Compared to Finns, foreigners are more spontaneous.
Olabode and other foreign students see sports as an important way to meet Finnish students. Finns and foreign exchange students study at different classes, and therefore, the exchange students do not get to know the Finns in the campus, and not really outside the classes either.
– Sports are an easy way to meet people. It even gets the shyest Finns out of their shells, Olabode tells with a smile.
Foreigners are much more open and communicate more, Finns are more quiet and do not complain.
Raahe International’s road to fame
Raahe International participated in a beach football tournament in the summer. A beach football field is smaller than a regular football field, and it is played without shoes. You are allowed to use socks or tape though.
– Our road ended in the semifinals when we lost to the team that won the tournament, the boys say.
– But we had fun!
Raahe International also participated in a football tournament held by the Softpolis network of technology companies and educational/research establishments. The goal was nothing less than victory.
– The tournament was rather easy all the way to the finals. The opponent was really tough but luckily we were able to win, Ville and Olabode tell.
The prices for winning the tournament were wild: a trophy and a bottle of champagne. Training throughout the summer finally paid off.
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