World

African migrant soccer team aims to win games, hearts in Italian town once marred by violence

  • In this picture taken on April 25, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, Gordon Kawsi, left, celebrates with his teammates after scoring during a match against Nuova Calimera in San Ferdinando, in the outskirts of Rosarno, southern 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 violence. A local Catholic charity manages the team, Koa Bosco, near Rosarno, Calabria. Hundreds of thousands of migrants in smugglers boats have reached southern Italy in recent years. (AP Photo/Adriana Sapone)

    In this picture taken on April 25, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, Gordon Kawsi, left, celebrates with his teammates after scoring during a match against Nuova Calimera in San Ferdinando, in the outskirts of Rosarno, southern 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 violence. A local Catholic charity manages the team, Koa Bosco, near Rosarno, Calabria. Hundreds of thousands of migrants in smugglers boats have reached southern Italy in recent years. (AP Photo/Adriana Sapone)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this picture taken on April 25, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, Gordon Kawsi, left, kicks the ball to score during a match against Nuova Calimera in San Ferdinando, in the outskirts of Rosarno, southern 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 violence. A local Catholic charity manages the team, Koa Bosco, near Rosarno, Calabria. Hundreds of thousands of migrants in smugglers boats have reached southern Italy in recent years. (AP Photo/Adriana Sapone)

    In this picture taken on April 25, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, Gordon Kawsi, left, kicks the ball to score during a match against Nuova Calimera in San Ferdinando, in the outskirts of Rosarno, southern 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 violence. A local Catholic charity manages the team, Koa Bosco, near Rosarno, Calabria. Hundreds of thousands of migrants in smugglers boats have reached southern Italy in recent years. (AP Photo/Adriana Sapone)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this picture taken on April 25, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, Koa Bosco captain Yaya Diallo, from Ivory Coast, right, controls the ball during a soccer match against Nuova Calimera in San Ferdinando, in the outskirts of Rosarno, southern 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 violence. A local Catholic charity manages the team, Koa Bosco, near Rosarno, Calabria. Yaya Diallo arrived on Lampedusa island, near Sicily, in 2010. Hundreds of thousands of migrants in smugglers boats have reached southern Italy in recent years. He works while he can as a farmhand. (AP Photo/Adriana Sapone)

    In this picture taken on April 25, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, Koa Bosco captain Yaya Diallo, from Ivory Coast, right, controls the ball during a soccer match against Nuova Calimera in San Ferdinando, in the outskirts of Rosarno, southern 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 violence. A local Catholic charity manages the team, Koa Bosco, near Rosarno, Calabria. Yaya Diallo arrived on Lampedusa island, near Sicily, in 2010. Hundreds of thousands of migrants in smugglers boats have reached southern Italy in recent years. He works while he can as a farmhand. (AP Photo/Adriana Sapone)  (The Associated Press)

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.