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Asmir Begović and Alphonso Davies compete online to aid coronavirus response

Copyrights: Konami/eFootball PES2020.

Asmir Begović and Alphonso Davies compete online to aid coronavirus response

The two football stars, both former refugees, went head to head in eFootball PES2020 contest for the United Nations Refugee Agency's (UNHCR) COVID-19 appeal.

Renowned AC Milan goalkeeper Asmir Begović and FC Bayern Munich’s teenage sensation Alphonso Davies went head to head in an eFootball PES2020 livestream tournament on Saturday, 25 April. The pair, both former refugees, fought for supremacy in the much-loved football video game to raise funds for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s COVID-19 response.

In a series of online matches, Begović and Davies followed their personal journeys, playing first as their countries of birth (Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Ghana), followed by the countries where they are currently living (Italy vs Germany). A third and final standoff between their respective current clubs, AC Milan and FC Bayern Munich, decided the winner. After a few tense rounds, Asmir narrowly came out on top. The tournament was hosted by football journalist Sam Tighe of Bleacher Report.

Alphonso Davies, widely lauded as one of the finest teenage talents in the world, was born in a refugee camp in Ghana to Liberian parents. When Davies was five years old, he and his family were resettled in Canada. At just 16, he became the youngest player to ever score for the Canadian national team. In January 2019, he moved to FC Bayern Munich for a then record Major League Soccer transfer fee, before helping the German giants win the German championship later that year.

I want to use my platform for causes that I care about,” said Davies. “As a former refugee myself I am very grateful for the help my family received, and the opportunities this opened-up for me and where it has brought me. Right now, there are more than 70 million people around the world forced to flee their homes. These are people who – like my family – fled conflict to find safety, and now COVID-19 is putting them at further risk. I hope that whilst people are keeping themselves and their own families safe, they can also help support refugees who have lost everything.

It’s important for us to come together as people are suffering, both in our local communities, and beyond,” said Begović. “I have been in a very delicate and vulnerable situation a couple of times in my life. That’s why I want to support UNHCR to help refugees around the world.

At an early age, Begović and his family were forced to flee their home in Bosnia and Herzegovina, first arriving in Germany before moving to Canada. The 32-year-old goalkeeper has enjoyed an illustrious career, playing for some of the biggest clubs in the world and helping Chelsea lift the English Premier League title in 2017. In 2014, Begović represented Bosnia and Herzegovina at the country’s first-ever World Cup. AC Milan’s goalkeeper has also become known for his philanthropic work through his own foundation.

UNHCR is taking measures to help respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and prevent further spread. Working together with governments, UNHCR ensures refugees are included in national health response plans and are well-informed on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, have access to soap and clean water, and continue to receive the life-saving aid and assistance they need.

Donating to UNHCR, even just a small amount, can make a huge difference to protecting refugees from COVID-19 – just 2 euros can buy a bar of soap that would last seven weeks, bringing dignity and preventing the virus from spreading.

Notes to editor

Assets pre-event can be found in the zip folder. For B-roll footage and post-event assets please contact Colin Kampschoer (Kampscho@unhcr.org).

For media enquiries:

About UNHCR

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We deliver life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, help safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. We also work to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality.

[This article was edited by the Operating Team, changing the tense from future to past to reflect that the story was published on sportanddev after the event.]

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United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

Published

Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 13:46