ROSARNO, Italy – A soccer team fielding only African migrants is hoping to win hearts and games in one of Italy's poorest regions, where locals and foreigners once clashed in bloody fights.
A local Catholic charity manages the team, Koa Bosco, near the town Rosarno in southern Italy. In 2010, clashes between residents there and migrants who work picking crops in the region left 38 people wounded. The fights began when two migrants were shot with a pellet gun in an attack that migrants blamed on racism.
Koa Bosco captain Yaya Diallo, from Ivory Coast, arrived on Lampedusa island, near Sicily, in 2010. Hundreds of thousands of migrants in smugglers boats have reached southern Italy in recent years.
Coach Domenico Mammoliti, at a recent game, praised his team's "joy" in playing.