Refugees take on Lismore council in soccer contest
FORMER journalist and refugee from Sierra Leone Adeyemi Johnson arrived in Lismore with his son Delcil six and a half years ago to escape corrupt politicians and a deadly rebel insurgency.
The 51-year-old said facing off against Lismore City Council staff in the inaugural African All Stars v Lismore Legends soccer match six months later marked the start of his integration into society.
"I was a journalist and journalists were being targeted everywhere," the All Stars captain said.
"If you were going to be a journalist, you had to sacrifice your life.
"When I came here, I wanted to continue journalism, but I didn't want flashbacks.
"So what I did was change to nursing, because my future goal is to look after humanity."
Mr Johnson, now a social worker, embraced Australia as his home and Lismore as his "super home", thanks in part to the council's sporting effort to welcome refugees.
"This has helped every one of us, including the young boys, to integrate into society," he said.
"Because they're not feeling left out and the community accepts them, they're really happy to be in Australia and in Lismore."
The council team has won the past three games - a record the All Stars team previously held.
Mr Johnson, who plays for Lismore Workers in the Far North Coast competition, was quietly confident the All Stars would break the Legends' winning streak, but the council's Brent McAlister said there was no chance of that.
"The game's got better every year, it's a good bit of fun, but there's definitely some competition in it - council pride at stake," Mr McAlister said.
About the game
WHAT: African All Stars v Lismore Legends
WHERE: Asia Pacific Football Institute field at Southern Cross University (entry via Crawford Rd)
WHEN: Thursday, kick-off at 5.15pm, presentationat 6.45pm