Football unites people

How colleagues became a team and neighbours became friends

Everything began on a small scale in our hospital in Bossembélé in the Central African Republic: Marius, a logistician working for Cap Anamur, had called for a football match between the employees of the different wards. Then, the employees of the hospital wards formed small teams. However, people quickly started to complain about the differently-sized wards not being able to form equally strong teams. They needed a different solution. Therefore, our employees turned to the next closest hospital in Yaloke for help. The individual ward teams became the Bossembélé-hospital team.

The first match between team Bossembélé and team Yaloke took place in Yaloke, around 65 km away. In the meantime, team Bossembélé, which consists of all sorts of people, had done some hours of training together.

“Everyone was incredibly excited for the match. We woke up early a few mornings because local colleagues wanted to train with us for the first match before our shift started,” recalls Joelle, a nurse who works for Cap Anamur. All patients and employees were thrilled about the first match against the neighbouring city. Unfortunately, team Bossembélé lost against team Yaloke in the first match, however, it was more important to have fun. It was especially great that simply anyone could participate in the match – be it amateurs, hobbykickers, new employees, experienced physicians, women or men.


Despite losing, there was a lot of ambition in Bossembélé. Before the return match, which was held in Bossombélé, the team had bought matching jerseys, as well as a challenge cup, which is awarded to the winning hospital. But before the match started, the opponents from Yaloke were invited to breakfast and taken on a guided tour through our hospital. Though opponents, the two teams had become friends as well. The new matching jerseys and the motivation to keep the cup in Bossembélé had an impact: This time the Cap-Anamur hospital won against the opponents from the neighbouring city.

Before another return match could be planned, there was a big surprise: Both the police as well as local NGOs and the UN-troops stationed in the area had formed teams as well and wanted to take part in our small football championship. The new teams were of course happily welcomed in our small football championship. “It’s so nice to see how the hospital staff has grown closer through football. The colleagues meet up in their free time and now work together in a different way. It made us very happy that other teams wanted to join in. We´ll become a real league one of these days,” said Joelle.