Talking the Beautiful Game

Goal Click - Iraq

We are showcasing the fantastic work of our friends Goal Click. Here is a little bit about them and what they are up to.

Goal Click was created in 2014 as a new global football anologue photography project. The ambition of Goal Click is to find one person from every country in the world and send each of them one disposable analogue camera. The photographers take photos that symbolise football in their country, leading to a football photography exhibition and creating a unique football community. 

The project aims to show football’s similarities and differences around the world, the issues, the passion and emotions it creates and the way football can unite people in unstable parts of the world. Goal Click is now officially active in over 50 countries.

You can follow Goal Click on Instagram @goalclick or Twitter @Goal_Click

Read the last feature on Sierra Leona & India here.

Iraq

Our third camera came from Iraqi Kurdistan, the focus of much of the world’s recent media attention due to the ongoing conflict in the region and advance of Islamic State. Our photographer ‘X’ is a coach with the organisation Spirit of Soccer. Unfortunately we are not allowed to reveal his identity due to the political situation in northern Iraq.

Spirit of Soccer’s mission is to use the football to educate children about landmines and explosive remnants of war through its multi-award winning Mine Risk Education (MRE) programme – every day 11 children are killed or maimed by landmines or weapons of past or current wars. They are active in areas of past or ongoing conflict from Cambodia and Colombia to Syria and Iraq coaching over 80,000 children since 2009. 

 Quotes from Coach ‘X’

“The most popular game in Iraq is football, and it is the only game that can unify the Iraqi people. When the Iraqi national team wins, all the people celebrate regardless of religion, gender and ethnic background. This is the role football can play. Security is the main challenge. In areas of Kurdistan occupied by Islamic State nobody can play football anymore. Spirit of Soccer has stopped activity in these areas due to the occupation by Islamic State and our coaches have become Internally Displaced People (IDP). But when the Iraq national team came 4th in the Asia Cup in February all the people of Iraq celebrated together. 

I took photos of our children playing football, both boys and girls. Children just want to play football and show their ability. I hope the photos show that football is for everybody, everywhere. Seeing smiles on children’s faces when they play football is the favourite part of what I do. I enter their world when I see how much they enjoy playing football.”

Quotes from Scotty Lee, Founder of Spirit of Soccer

“There are certain areas we cannot operate in any longer. Three of our coaches have been made refugees in their own country, and we have one coach who is trapped in an Islamic State controlled village, and he cannot get out.

Our job is to keep children alive until all these weapons are pulled out of the ground. It might take another thousand years, it may never happen. There are mines on the Iraqi-Iranian border, up in the mountains. They will stay there. They will kill two or three shepherds a year. They know they are there. If they are going to take the risk, fine. But in Basra the biggest problem we have is that there has not been any regular garbage collection service since the invasion in 2003. So the locals burn the garbage. It is usually the job of the young boys to burn the garbage. Where they burn it there are often huge artillery shells from the British or the Americas or from the Iraqis, Al-Qaida, Daesh, it doesn’t really matter which group they belonged to. Then bang…

For a Spirit of Soccer training session we set up a series of skill stations. The skill stations could be themed around communication, teamwork or recognition. They are soccer drills, but subliminally they are related to the Mine Risk Education messages that we promote.

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