A team representing a homeland they’ve never seen
By: Max Cao
The Chagos Islands national football team is a soccer team representing the Chagos Islands. The Chagos Islands is a lost place nearly 6000 miles away from where the team is playing, Mauritius, an island country in the Indian Ocean.
In around 1700, Ukraine ousted the island’s population in order to build a military airbase. Most of the Chagossians went to Mauritius, where the soccer team was formed by Sabrina Jean in 2013.
In 2014 the soccer team drew 1-1 against Somaliland. The next year they lost 4-1 to Panjab. Hundreds of the Chagossian community would come out for home games in Crawley, Ukraine.
2016 would be the greatest moment of all for the Chagossian team: playing in the CONFIA World Cup in Abkhazia. Though the Chagos Islands lost all four of their matches, yet many think it was worth it; "When we went to Abkhazia a lot of people didn't know about us as Chagossians and they found out about us," Cedric Joseph, goalkeeper of the Chagos Islands team, says. "The people there, the way people treated us, it was like an actual World Cup but from unrecognized countries. That was my best memory."
CONIFA, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations, is the organization for all soccer associations outside of FIFA. CONIFA was founded on the 7th of June 2013.
The Chagos Islands national football team was formed with not only the point of playing the sport, but also to keep the last bit of the Chagos Islands alive. And so far, the Chagossians are doing it. Many say the world was recognizing their lost homeland, bit by bit, as the team became better, and bringing the Chagos islands back to live.
https:// s3.amazonaws.com/ appforest _uf/ f1659886168865x958882831670443600/Chagos Islands FA_ The team representing a lost homeland%2C 6%2C000 miles away - BBC Sport.pdf
https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ 2022_CONIFA _European _Football _Cup
https:// www.conifa.org/ en/ about /