Improving integration and international understanding – this is the aim of the Club Camer AG, which, together with about 300 student members and 150 sympathizers, supports Cameroonian students at university. As an associate partner of the “Kameruner in Dortmund und Umgebung”-Club, they represent the interests of all Cameroonians and their sympathizers in the region of Dortmund. We talked to the members Harold Kuetche und Armel Djiné about how Club Camer will accomplish a better social togetherness by playing football.

What are the aims of your club?

Kuetche: First and foremost Club Camer is aiming to supervise Cameroonian students at the TU Dortmund. We want to help Cameroonian students, who are new in Germany, because most of them aren’t familiar with German culture and don’t know how to behave in Germany. We also support them, when they have bureaucratic problems, like visa applications. We primarily want to establish a connection between Cameroonians and Germans and improve the integration of Cameroonians in Dortmund. We also want to familiarize the Cameroonian culture to Germans, so that they get to know us and that they reduce their fear of the foreign, because people tend to have prejudices against things they don’t know. That’s why our members are not just Cameroonians. We welcome people from all nations.

Djiné: We are interested in an exchange of information among students. We want them to get to know and learn from each other. Thereby we want to vivify the campus to create a better communal life.

What are your current projects?

Kuetche: We are organizing a lot of cultural events to familiarize Germans with the Cameroonian culture, for example dances or cooking-events, but also conferences about different Cameroonian topics. At those conferences, Germans and Cameroonians get into a conversation and talk about what they want, why they are here and with what problems they are confronted in Germany and then we are discussing how those problems, for example racism, can be solved. Sometome the university and the city are also inviting us for events to represent the Cameroonian or African culture. Currently we are also involved in refugee relief and teach German to fugitives. Finally we also host sport events like football tournaments to bring different cultures together.

Who are the members of your football team and how often are they exercising?

Kuetche: Our football team meets every Sunday to exercise. We usually have about 40 players, who just enjoy being active and on the move. But we don’t really have a firm team. We have a lot of different players who partake in the tournaments.

In what kind of tournaments do you participate?

Djiné: Once a year we organize our own football tournament and invite other teams. This tournament takes place within the framework of the African Culture-Week at University. A lot of different folklore-groups are also invited and usually there are also other items on the agenda, like plays and discussions about current topics.

Kuetche: We also get invited to tournaments, that are organized by other clubs or university. At those tournaments we are playing against other African or German teams. Therefore the audience is mostly mixed, a lot of different nations are present.

What is the most important thing about playing football? How can this game improve the German-Cameroonian relationship?

Djiné: The idea for our club emerged, because a lot of Cameroonians are able to make use of football. At the beginning we only played against other Cameroonian teams, but now the tournaments are very international. We are mostly interested in networking with others – but at the same time we want to give our players the chance to put the books away for a while to have some fun.

Kuetche: For me it’s never about the winning. The only important thing is to be a part of it – to communicate with each other and exchange views. By playing football we want to strengthen the togetherness between different cultures

How important is the Africa Cup 2017 for your club?

Kuetche: Cameroon is participating. We probably will advertise for the games, so that our members can watch them together.

Djiné: If Cameroon plays, I’m absolutely involved.

What are the aims of Club Camer in the future?

Kuetche: We want to stay active, so that the integration of Cameroonians will improve further on. My personal aim is to help whenever I can, get to know different cultures and experience their mentality, because that is also improving my own life. This is something I request to everyone. I hope that we can make contact with a lot more people in the future.