Students of various nationalities, including Indians and Nigerians, took to the fields of Sharda University to play a football match and showcase their unity, following recent racial attacks on Africans in Greater Noida.
The match, between Embassy 11 and Chancellor 11, was organised as a gesture of goodwill by the district administration of Gautam Budh Nagar and the administration of Sharda University, to defuse tension prevailing in Greater Noida. Players were enthusiastic on the field and played the game in a fair manner.
“India is a country known for its culture and diversity. It is our responsibility to apply balm to the wounds and make sure that people from African countries feel safe here. Such events will bring students closer and they will be able to understand each other’s problems,” NP Singh, the district magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar, said.
Prior to the football match, representatives of various embassies arrived at the sports complex ground and spoke at length about the recent attacks, and expressed hope that such events will not be repeated.
Before the match, a cultural programme was also organised, in which Indian students of the varsity performed popular numbers of different countries. Students from Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Nigeria, Congo and Uganda, besides India, took part in the football match.
“India is a country known for its culture and diversity. It is our responsibility to apply balm to the wounds and make sure that people from African countries feel safe here.” - NP Singh, DM
Osman Mohammed, the deputy head of mission, embassy of Sudan, who was among the guests, told Hindustan Times, “Repeated attacks suggest that India should bring a change in its policy. There is no doubt that India is a friendly and secular nation, but when such incidents are reported, we see very little support from the civil society. Racism is not good for any country.”
The ground was covered with flags of various countries in a spirited show of unity among diversity. Sharda University has 1,500 students from 56 countries, of which 175 are from African countries.
The chancellor of the university, PK Gupta, said, “When someone greets us in African countries with ‘Namaste’, it shows how much they love us. Keeping such things in mind, we all have to fight against the odds, which provoke racial attacks.”
The football game was evenly contested by both the teams in the first half as both teams scored one goal each. However, the Embassy 11 took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half and scored two goals to win the game 3-1. The goals for the winning team were scored by Nabil, Abubakar and Aron.
Students from Noida International University, Galgoita University and locals showed up in large numbers to cheer for the players in the match.