"Cricket for Change has enabled me to make good friends, to experience things that I never thought possible; it has given me confidence in challenging life situations."
Young Afghan refugee cricketer receives life changing award from Muhammad Ali & David Beckham
Jul 25, 2012
On Tuesday 24th July, Muhammad Ali and David Beckham presented the inaugural ‘Generation Ali Beyond Sport Award’ which recognises Service, Leadership, and Action in the community to young Afghan refugee Matiullah Haider from Cricket for Change, at the Beyond Sport Summit in London.
19-year-old Matiullah, who lost most of his family in the conflict in Afghanistan, came to the UK 4years ago as a refugee. He is now an integral part of the Refugee Cricket Project (RCP is run by Cricket for Change and the Refugee Council) and from the adversity of his early life it is through the example he sets as a brother and father figure to the other young refugees that are part of the RCP, which has set him apart.
Matiullah tirelessly gives his time to act as a humble pillar of emotional strength and support to those who feel isolated and fearful and then helps them to grow in confidence in a safe and secure environment.
Matiullah says, “I am delighted to have won the award and it was one of the most fantastic nights of my life” and he was also overwhelmed by the standing ovation that Muhammad Ali received.
Everyone involved in the Refugee Cricket Project are overjoyed at Matiullah winning this award including Danny Baker, Cricket for Change Training Manager, who has been a strong mentor to Matiullah says, “I am extremely proud of Matiullah and his achievements and he is a magnificent ambassador for young people in his community and the world”.
As part of the programme of support that Matiullah and his fellow nominees will receive as the founding members of Beyond Sport's Young Advisory Panel, they will be flown by British Airways to the Beyond Sport United conference, to be held at Yankee Stadium in New York on November 13th 2012.
CHECK OUT MATIULLAH ON ITV'S 'DAYBREAK' (With Nick Keller of Beyond Sport) - interview is about 43 minutes in - note link will last for 5 days.