Two of Japan’s J1-League football club players from the team Shonan Bellmare, Go Shibuya and Ryo Kusakabe, along with Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT), entertained hundreds of disaster survivors in the Integrated Community Shelter (ICS) area in Sumari Village, Sindue Subdistrict, Donggala Regency.
These ICS inhabitants were provided with a coaching clinic and a charity match.
“We came here to hand over aid in the form of stationery, our club jerseys, soccer balls, and other assistance to the evacuees. We are working with Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) to channel this assistance,” the two players said in front of the refugees who were enthusiastic about their arrival.
These players entertained hundreds of residents by holding an exhibition match on the mini football field located in front of ICS Sumari. Ryo Kusakabe revealed that residents in the city of Palu and Sumari village were very friendly and smiley despite of the earthquake, tsunami, and landslides that have happened.
Hundreds of Sumari residents watched the game enthusiastically. They laughed; amazed at the Japanese players’ skills when shooting the ball into the opponent’s goal. After the game was over, the ICS inhabitants gathered around the two football players for pictures and selfies.
”Shonan Bellmare has collaborated with PWJ since 2013 in every humanitarian activity, including this one. We are here to give happiness. The assistance we brought is a donation from our fans and players. Hopefully, this assistance can inspire the evacuees and locals to produce professional footballers here,” said Kusakabe in his speech.
ACT Central Sulawesi Branch Manager, Nurmarjani Loulembah, stated that she was very grateful that Shonan Bellmare football club was able to entertain and uplift the spirit of the evacuees.
”Insha Allah, this activity can uplift the spirit of the Sumari villagers to rise after the disaster. We also urge Sumari residents to use the ICS and its facilities the best way possible and maintain them,” she said.
She also hoped that through this event, future professional football players will appear to make the region and even the country proud. The game between Shonan Bellmare players and the evacuees was quite intense. The evacuees provided significant resistance to the two players, even though at the end of the match the evacuees lost.
The ICS inhabitants and the locals who watched the game were very enthusiastic and did not leave the location until the game ended. After the match, Shonan Bellmare management distributed jerseys and soccer balls to the evacuees. Inside this ICS complex, there are 96 shelters occupied by 96 families. Many supporting facilities were built such as mosque, public restrooms, clean water sources, classrooms, etc.