The Christian Science Monitor

For some migrants in Spain, hope springs from a soccer field

While watching the 1998 World Cup on TV, Issa Abdou took his geography book and started planning to leave Cameroon. At the age of 8, Issa’s goal was to go to Spain and play in the best soccer league in the world.

Two years later, this son of nomadic shepherds said goodbye to his parents and headed north. He says he lived in Nigeria, Niger, and Algeria, saving money to reach Morocco. At each leg of the journey, he colored the maps in his geography book with his eye on the goal. In 2007 he climbed the 20-foot fence in Melilla, a Spanish enclave in northern Morocco, and waited until the Red Cross and the police came to help.


“It wasn’t Madrid or Barcelona, but when I saw the Spanish flag in Melilla, I was okay – I had made it to Spain,” Mr. Abdou says, his eyes displaying a nostalgic

The discipline of a game Pressure for a government plan

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