Anszou Cissé is a young Senegalese migrant in Italy, who will soon be evicted from the Castelnuovo di Porto CARA reception center and sent away. He is also the pride and glory of the local football club, which is trying to keep him against all odds.
Anszou Cissé is one of the migrants who will be sent away from the Castelnuovo CARA migrant center, which is due to close on January 31. But Cissé is not just a migrant; he's considered to be the "hero" of the local football team:
The 19-year-old Senegalese footballer arrived in Castelnuovo in 2017 after originally landing in Lampedusa. He immediately found a place on the local football team with his skillful playing. The Castelnuovo team is in the top category of the championship. Since the beginning of the championship, Cissé has scored eight goals - despite a two-month absence due to an injury.
Cissé and his fans both are trying to find a way now, to get their local football star to stay with them.
'I found a family here'
Anszou Cissé told ANSA in a video interview that he "found a family here," adding that he feels "like they care about me as if I were their brother. And they are all brothers for me even before teammates. Thus, this as difficult of a time for me as it is for them."
"Thanks to the football team I have integrated well into the environment and the town. My teammates have shown a great deal of solidarity with me and they are now very sad and worried about the fact that I have to leave.
"We are also in a bit of a delicate phase of the championship and have done a lot of great work together," the young Senegalese footballer explained. His teammates and fans have tried to find a solution to get him to stay in Castelnuovo but have not succeeded thus far:
"There are many families that have offered to host me, to allow me to stay here in Castelnuovo. But this seems to be impossible for some reason I have not yet understood," Cissé said.
Salvini's migrant policies
The decision to close the CARA center continues to be hotly contested. The Vatican itself has gotten involved in the case and has called the prospect of closing the facility a "terrible day."
Responding to a question on the matter in Italy's Chamber of Deputies, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said that "the eviction operations of Castelnuovo di Porto did not result in any harm to vulnerable individuals or to the abandonment of groups of people. It was a common sense intervention in line with good administration."
Salvini said that the center cost "Italian taxpayers 6 million euros per year."