Thirteen years ago, the Dalkurd FF club was founded by Kurdish refugees and migrants from the Borlänge city in Dalarna County, Sweden, and is now something of an unofficial Kurdish national football team around the world.
Players of other nations also wear the Dalkurd jersey today. Next to Kurds, for example, Swedish and American football players run for the newly crowned first division.
Dalkurd’s sports director Adil Kiliz said: “It is a completely crazy journey that we have laid down, but I always knew that we would be unstoppable.”
Kiliz, who estimates the number of his team’s fans at around 40 million, tells that: “It’s safe to assume that just about every Kurd in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon or anywhere else has heard of Dalkurd. Of course, we feel that sympathy and support, and they’ve carried us to where we are now. “
Striker Ahmed Awad agrees: “It’s an amazing feeling when you can give so much pleasure to a people that are oppressed to this extent.”
Despite all the anticipation of the new adventure, the club bosses know about the difficult task that awaits Dalkurd in the first division. Kiliz, whose father and club boss Ramazan anticipates optimistically, said: “Our club needs to evolve in all fields in order to survive. 40 to 50 million people will be watching us next season, which is our motivation.”
Around 2000 Kurds live in Borlänge which has a population of 49 thousand. 96 percent of the studying Kurdish students recevie mother-tongue education. While Kurdish associations organize different cultural, artistic and social activities to ensure integration, the Kurdish population in the region has achieved a success in many areas including football.