To be able to play football, this young Tunisian had to leave his country in a makeshift boat.
Playing football may seem simple in France and in countries where peace reigns. But playing football in countries with strict rules, at war, or where the infrastructure is simply not modern and good, turns out to be much more complicated. In 2022, the story of a young Tunisian will make the front pages of local newspapers and the entire country. Young goalkeeper of Club Sportif Sfaxien, a historic club in the city of Sfax, founded in 1928, Mohamed Ali Chelbi had to leave this club denouncing “unfair” treatment.
CS Sfaxien, its name for short, is however a renowned elite club in Tunisia. Winner of the Tunisian Cup in 2022, he also has 8 national championships to his name and the announcement of his very young goalkeeper was a shock wave for the supporters. The Tunisian club did not want to communicate on the reasons for the departure of Mohamed Ali Chelbi, while the main interested party spoke to the site Al Araby Aljadid to explain.“I play for the youth division of CS Sfaxien. I was even a goalkeeper for the national youth team. I was the victim of a certain injustice when I was sidelined for favoritism “.
Courted by an Italian club, Mohamed Ali Chelbi decided to try the adventure in Europe, but had several obstacles in his way. “I chose illegal immigration because of the injustice I suffered in Tunisia. I applied for a visa and was refused.” Arriving safely with an image of himself in a makeshift boat as proof, the young man did not warn anyone before leaving the country in the summer of 2022. Not even his parents.
“I was not aware that my son had decided to emigrate illegally. He called me on Friday to say that he had arrived in Italy. We tried quite a few times to get a visa, in vain. “My son received invitations to try out for 4 clubs in Italy. My son suffered incomprehensible injustice at CS Sfaxien and the national team. My son was fed up.” explains his father.
“We are in shock and I would have liked him to talk to me about his problems,” Moez Triki, the coach of CS Sfaxien, declared on Mosaique FM. According to some African media, CS Sfaxien players remained without salaries for several months, to the point where the club’s management appealed to the Tunisian Football Federation to resolve certain financial disputes so that the club could remain in the elite. .