Antonis Nikopolidis doesn’t need an introduction among those who have followed soccer in the last decade or so because he was instrumental in one of the greatest upsets in the history of the game that Greece had created in 2004 by sealing the Euro Championships.
His brilliant work between the sticks throughout the tournament and in the final in particular was the reason why Greece could manage the unthinkable and it’s obviously something for which the 46-year old has got a lot of respect in his country and in the entire soccer universe ever since.
But, what Nikopolidis is doing these days will probably earn him more respect, more as a human being than as a player because he is trying to spread happiness. He is giving the refugees who have come to his country from the dangerous parts of Asia (dangerous with regard to the fact that those areas are troubled by civil wars) some joy.
The thing is that those refugees have submitted their applications to EU to place them somewhere in Europe, but, a lot of time is being taken by the union to work on those applications and to decide which European country it wants to send the refugees to and in the meantime, they are stuck in Greece only where they have nothing to do at all.
So, just to make them feel that they belong to the region in some way, Nikopolidis has formed a soccer side out of those refugees only and is making them participate in a non-professional league every weekend so that wins that they may register in that league give them a reason to smile, not only to those who play, but, to all of them because they all would feel like it’s their team.
As per Nikopolidis, life gets very, very tough when someone has a lot of time at his disposal and he has no idea how to make use of that time. It gets you deeply sad and depressed and that is the condition of the refugees at the moment. So, this team that he has assembled is just a way to cheer them up.