Bayer Leverkusen and Germany midfielder Nadiem Amiri has brought a smile to the faces of refugees from Afghanistan by inviting them to Germany's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier with Armenia on Sunday.
Amiri's own family fled Afghanistan in the 1980s and moved to Germany where the Leverkusen man was born. But the 24-year-old is very much in touch with his family's origins, and visited a refugee centre in Stuttgart this week.
"As a German with Afghan roots, I am following the recent developments in Afghanistan closely," said the former Hoffenheim midfielder, who also handed out signed shirts. "It was clear for me that I would like to help these people who have fled to Germany — as my own family did — as best as possible."
Inviting families to the game at Stuttgart's Mercedes-Benz Arena is just one of the first steps in what Amiri — a five-time Germany international — expects will be a long and fruitful cooperation with the German Football Federation (DFB) and its Egidius Braun Foundation.
"I'm happy that together we are able to organise an experience which can — in these difficult times — provide all the people from the centre with a little distraction," said Amiri, who has more plans in the pipeline. "That this would be long-term cooperation on all sides was especially important for me."
In an Instagram post on his official account after the visit, Amiri said: "What an amazing day it was great spending time with everyone of you! Thanks @dfb_team and @dfb_stiftungen for giving me the opportunity to give something back to people who really need it. I'm happy that this was only the start of future common projects."
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