Refugiados, a basketball team that triumphs in Mexico and dreams of the USA.
Matamoros (Mexico), March 14 (EFE). While waiting for the right moment to cross into the United States, a group of Haitians are overrunning the Mexican border town of Matamoros these days as part of a basketball group that has revolutionized the field.
The basketball team has helped them a lot to raise their self-esteem, to entertain themselves. And to let them know they can do something, the shelter’s manager, Samuel Eze Rina Ruiz, told EFE on Monday, a space that currently holds about 200 people.
He had the idea of placing two baskets in the courtyard of the shelter and organizing games inside the shelter, as part of the sports and cultural activities implemented by this support space for immigrants arriving in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, at the border. Northern Mexico.
What began almost as a joke has now become a reality that prompted the Haitian and Mexican immigrants, as well as their coach of Venezuelan origin, to put effort on the field and maintain a good rhythm that gave them 4 wins and only 1 defeat in the competition.
Immigrants trust their talent, when it comes to a dream and turn it into reality, they persevere: they try to train on the improvised playground in the shelter, sometimes they go to public sports units to play sports.
The team dreams of becoming the champion of the independent league that is played in Matamoros.
The frontiersmen, who used to play with people from different parts of Mexico, were surprised to see players from Haiti enter the field and compete using the language barrier and physical appearance, such as their height, to their advantage.
• Suddenly people from other countries arrived (to the league) and were kind of surprised (the other players). But when they started seeing them play, they gained respect, and today they play comfortably? As Rena Ruiz says.
The outfit they wear, donated by influencers, explains their presence in the region.
It’s a yellow shirt with the slogan “Refugees”, and in the central part you can see a migrant walking with his backpack across the desert and in front of him are some hawks (eagles).
A picture surrounded by the flags of different countries and the phrase “migrants with a situation”.
• I see a lot of positive attitudes and good feelings from parts of them. So much dedication, so much dedication? This is what the team’s Venezuelan coach, Juan Bautista, told Efe.
Haitian LeBron James
During the game, the migrants forget about their difficult situation and play and run without complexes, as they probably had to run to reach these limits. Thus escaping from reality.
One of them is Linus Dorfilin, the 1.96-meter Haitian who received the nickname LeBron James, in honor of the American basketball star.
Linus arrived at Matamoros two months ago and joined the team soon after: “I feel happy, I have a coach who has trained me well.” And everyone calls me LeBron James?, expresses the player.
Refugiados also has among its ranks the most distinguished player in the league to date.
This is Caribe Junior Elbenord, who previously coached the same sport in Haiti, and who today holds the highest number of points accumulated in matches.
“He feels good about doing it, he’s trained a lot and he knows he can do it better,” says his translator and fellow team member, Luke Arthur Saint-Germain.
At the end of each game they return to the truck that transports them. Not without shaking hands with opponents and thanking them for respect and coexistence during the confrontation.
The director of the shelter, as well as the players, know that the refugee team has a future because, although some will make the crossing to the United States to continue their dreams, some other foreigners who arrive in Matamoros and have the desire to jump into the field.
The region is seeing a record influx into the United States, where Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detected more than 1.7 million illegal immigrants at the border with Mexico in fiscal year 2021, which ended on September 30.
Mexico deported more than 114,000 foreigners in 2021, according to data from the country’s Ministry of the Interior.
Mexican authorities intercepted 73,034 aliens who had resided irregularly in the national territory between January 1 and March 8 this year, the National Institute for Migration (INM) recently reported.
Abraham Pineda Jacomi