THE Refugee6 soccer team has been playing against township teams from Du Noon, De Doorns, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Mitchells Plain since the beginning of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, allegedly in a bid to stave off xenophobic attacks.
Teenage refugee Ephraim Nhamo, 18, from Zimbabwe, inspired by a life of hardship, is using soccer to campaign against drug abuse, HIV-Aids and xenophobia in Cape Town.
Nhamo fled political violence and hunger in the remote rural village of Binga, Zimbabwe, to South Africa two years ago when he was only 16. His dream then was to find a job and support his family back home.
He never achieved his dream and instead found himself sleeping under the bridges of Cape Town.
Nhamo ended up in a shelter, where he and other refugees were discriminated against and called "makwerekwere".
In October last year Nhamo and other refugees decided to form the Refugee6 football team.
Nhamo said the 6 represents his teammates who are drawn from, but not limited to; countries such as Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Somalia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Sowetan was present when Refugee6 played Life Church FC from Sea Point at the African Brothers Academy in Cape Town last week. Despite recent rumours of coming xenophobic attacks, the youngster, whose dream is to be a human rights lawyer, said: "We are not scared (to play in the townships) because when we go there, we go there as a team."
Teammate, Sazi Fatyela, 16, of Woodstock, said: "When we play soccer, we see each other as brothers, not foreigners. We share the same continent.
"My brothers are here for a reason. They ran away from difficulties. They did not come here to steal jobs. They only want refuge."