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Text: Filip Davydov
A hot summer day. Twelve men in sport shirts are fighting for a ball on a football pitch. The audience are screaming and encouraging their favourites to be even faster. There are stands with refreshments and international specialities a hundred meters from the pitch. There is live music and fathers with their children are enjoying various competitions, talking and having a lovely afternoon.
This is exactly what this year’s Táta fesT happening looked like. Táta fesT or Father’s Day was held for the second time by the My.Aktivity, o.p.s. NGO from Žižkov in Prague. It took place on 17th June at the Pražačka sports venue. The visitors could choose from a lot of different attractions, competitions and workshops. Children could take a close look at a garbage truck of the Prague Services, a partner of the festival. There were football darts – a huge inflatable board you hit with a football. Everyone could enjoy football, lacrosse, or floorball training and a lot of other activities. “Most attractions have been provided by MyAktivity, only a few have been hired from external companies,” says Roman Rozbroj, director of My.Aktivity, o.p.s.
The focal point of the event was an international five-a-side football tournament of teams of people from all over the world. Altogether, there were eight teams: Iranians, Macedonians, Russians, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Vietnamese, and two mixed teams of the Raptors club. “We are a new team of foreigners from several countries. We are based in Prague and today we have two teams here in blue and black shirts. The players we can see on the pitch today are from about ten countries – Spain, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Romania, France, and others. We also have a women’s football team and starting from September we are planning to join an official competition,” says Daz Moss, founder of the Raptors football club who has moved to Prague from England.
After the registration of players in the morning, the team captains received keys from the changing rooms with free beverages. All teams were divided into two groups. During the morning, each team played three twenty-eight minute matches in their group. In the afternoon there was the more exciting part of the tournament – elimination matches. The winners of the semi-final matches were Macedonian Bukefal and the Raptors Black mixed team who then met in the final. The winner of the last match and the whole tournament was the Macedonian team. At the end of the tournament, there was an award ceremony. The captain of Bukefal received a cheque for CZK 10,000 from David Gregor, Prague 3’s deputy mayor. The second and the third team got prizes from partners of the event.
“Football is one of the most accessible sports – all you need to start a game is a ball and two sticks,” says Jan Dus, coordinator of the football tournament. “That’s why we decided to use this opportunity and connect Father’s Day with a football competition. We think that it creates a pleasant environment for the integration of foreigners who are fathers.”
Throughout the event, visitors and football players could buy freshly cooked food. There was something for everyone as the selection was really wide: home-style Czech breakfast prepared by volunteers from My.Aktivity, o. p. s., sweet and savoury pancakes, freshly ground coffee, and a lot of hot food cooked by Galina from Russia.
“I participate in events like this on a regular basis. I can cook almost any Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian, Uzbek, and Czech food that foreigners from post-soviet countries like. I am glad that the organisers invite me to their events. The customers can watch the whole preparation process because I prepare some of the meals right at the venue,” says Galina. She has been offering her food for many years at various events of different scale and format. She moved to the Czech Republic soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union and now she works here as a cook and owns a restaurant with a brewery in Žižkov. “On my today’s menu there is borsch – the traditional Russian soup, pelmeni – dumplings filled with pork, beef, and chicken meat, plov, chebureks with meat, khachapuri, shasliks, and a lot more delicious things. So far I have served about 200 customers,” adds the Russian cook.
This year’s international football tournament took place as a part of the Family for Families project aimed at integration of minorities of foreigners living in Prague and was implemented by My.Aktivity o.p.s.
The project is funded by the European Union under the Prague – Pole of Growth operation programme coordinated by the Prague City Hall. Thanks to this, teams of foreigners could compete for financial and material prizes without paying any participation fee.