Greek expats in Dubai recently came together for a football tournament to show solidarity with their compatriots back home still struggling through one of the deepest socioeconomic crises in their country’s history.
Eight teams consisting mainly of Greek players, played intense football for almost four hours, culminating in an extraordinary final settled by a penalty shoot-out.
Friends, families and plenty of young children, created a warm atmosphere showcasing famous home-made cooked delicacies, and were fixated by the passionate performances on the pitch.
The eventual champions, Public Café, danced a zeibekiko, traditionally a dance of the brave, to the cheers of those in attendance. The tournament was organized by Emfasis Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by Greeks living overseas, providing their own response to Greece’s crucial issues, such as depression, unemployment and vulnerability to a crumbling public healthcare system.
Maria Karra, the tournament’s founder, who has lived and worked in Dubai for many years, explained: “We have a moral obligation to stand alongside all Greek citizens who have been affected tremendously in the last three years. Just because we don’t live in Greece, it doesn’t exonerate us from our duty to contribute in any way we can. It’s not always about money. Each one of us can help someone in need, make them feel important and not forgotten.”