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Victory for Kush Stars FC at Talgarth!

‘I was astonished by the heart warming (tear welling) welcome provided by all at Talgarth yesterday. So much thought and work put in, but presented in such a caring, effortless way. Amazed to be hosted by the rugby club and the football guys, and felt welcomed in the village generally.’ Wrote Kelly after her first trip.

It becomes harder to find the superlatives and to think of what to say.  However this visit to Talgarth of over 40 people seeking sanctuary was special in a number of ways. It was the first trip for Kelly, a trustee at Swansea Asylum Seekers support [SASS] and for Basit, project Officer- BME sports Cymru with Ethnic Youth Support Team EYST, it was the first day that Carol had coordinated [ But not the last, I hope] , it was the first time we’ve had special gifts for the visiting children[ Thanks to Ishtar  ], the first time we’ve had local honey to give each adult to take home [Thanks Tim and Val]  and a first for Swansea to win at football in Talgarth.

The doors of the rugby club opened at 9 to allow Carol, Rachel, Lynne, Philip, Tim, Val, Lawrence and Ailsa to make a start preparing for the visit  laden down as they were with food, donations and equipment from the store.  Virginia brought signs, various people arrived with gifts, Pauline came with food , Jan with delicious cheese biscuits and Melrose and Margaret with eggs and fruit..The New Inn provided Curry and Dhal, Janet Matthews and the church gave donations including cake, Thanu and Gayan, Tim and Val, Barbara,  Reg and Anna provided even more food. The Mill  gave some delicious  bread…

A phone call around 10.30  alerted us to the late departure of the coach whilst they awaited some footballers to arrive [ ‘too busy doing their hair? ‘ asked Lawrence with rugby bias] .

Messages from Mark let us know of their speedy progress although at one time he let us know he was passing  Penpont and then informed us after 10 minutes that he was 28 minutes away…. Panic over , he’d sent the message much later than intended! So they arrived very soon afterwards to a warm welcome and hot drinks and fruit and biscuits.  Almost immediately after a welcome from Margaret, we set off for a walk up to Pwll y Wrach led at high speed by Rob and Sean  or to do Stream dipping with Collette and Sue or to do crafts with Ishtar and family.

Meanwhile Rachel, Barbara, Tim, Val, Pauline, Brenda and Lynne ably assisted by Gayan started to heat up and lay out all the wonderful foods. Jean sorted out the take home bags and the kindly donated toys and clothes.

The stream dipping was I’m told ‘cool’. They saw a tiny fish and a number of other creatures and checked upon the floral displays

The walk to Pwll Y Wrach was popular  with the footballers and Thanu and I want to claim all credit for our part in helping them to warm up! It was a great opportunity to chat and learn about each others’ countries. I’m told parts of Sudan are mountainous and have streams and the scenery started several men singing a calling type song about home. As soon as I tried to ask about it they became shy and stopped singing, unfortunately . Gez joined us and although Rob was worried that we’d be late for lunch we did make it to the waterfall and after the obligatory photo breaks we made it back  with a little time to spare. Although some of the team couldn’t eat before the game, others tucked in ravenously. Meanwhile, one young girl brought around a globe checking with everyone where they came from and she had found at least 10  countries by the time she came to me.


Gayan and Tim in the kitchen

Nadir  [Captain] and I went over to Talgarth AFC clubhouse and checked out where they needed to change. Talgarth were a little short of players as several people were on holiday and others were injured, Paul Sharman [ aged 69 ] and Gareth Davies were persuaded to change and Swansea lent Jay to them. 

Despite our best efforts, [!!] the game still kicked off on time ably reffed by Les Gwynne. The atmosphere was exciting and the crowd of about 40 people cheered and clapped vigorously. The  two teams were very evenly matched for the first half with both goal keepers saving a number of shots and the Swansea goalie knocking himself out when diving for a ball. He was adamant that he was not coming off…. Unusually for a mid Wales game we had stops for water and the half time oranges were appreciated [ if not fully understood – apparently in the many years since some of us played sport this custom has died out..] Two late goals scored by Kush Stars players and a missed penalty by Jay for Talgarth gave the victory to Swansea. This team have played together for several seasons and it showed. Several players recalled previous losses at Talgarth and how  they not only hadn’t  played together but also didn’t even speak a common language. Many of this team were Sudanese although the men of the match as chosen by the opposition were both from Yemen- numbers 7 and 17, Nasri and Ahmed.  We hope this pre-season warm up match for Talgarth will set them on the road to winning the league again.


I love the fact that this Team photo shows the teams mixing together and highlights what an opportunity this was for inclusion and integration. as well as being a great match.

Meanwhile children played in the play park or around the clubhouse watched over by parents and helpers.


We were delighted that some  Talgarth players joined us after the match when our team were able to have a late lunch and combine it with tea.  Whilst the rest of us enjoyed cake! The men of the match,  were presented with boxes of chocolates by Lawrence and some young helpers. The chocolates were shared around at the insistence of the helpers!






Stuart had kindly agreed to leave a little later to allow the team to cool down and digest their food but it still seemed too soon that we had to say goodbye and pack up! Another super day out that everyone enjoyed.

THanks to

Carol and family and Lynne for superb coordination.

Rachel for running the kitchen  with Gayan , Barbara, Reg, Pauline, Brenda, Tim and Val and others.

Barbara for helping to organise and doing so much.

Val and Tim for  over 25 pots of honey from their bees.

Ishtar  Olivera and family for paper crafts and gifts for the children,

Rob, Sean and Gez for storming the waterfall,

Collette Mooney from the Wye and Usk Foundation for super  stream dipping,

Hayley Sharpe from Brecon Beacons National park for games and craft materials.

Chris Voyle and Talgarth AFC for  arranging and playing the Football match

Val Shival for offering a tree walk and not minding when there wasn’t time to do it justice,

Jean for doing the take home bags,

Virginia for beautiful signs

Phil, Sue, Mike and others for sharing the welcome duties,

Gwernyfed Rugby club for being such a good community club and for allowing us the use of all facilities.

The New Inn for wonderful Curry and Dhal.

The Mill for  delicious bread.

The Co op and Aldi for donations, [ thanks Janet and Penny for picking up]

Ysgol Mynydd Du for donations

Lawrence for  Finance, help and for rescuing the butterfly that was trapped in the changing rooms- his young friend was very concerned about this for over an hour!

Everyone else who came and made the day so special

Mr. S
Hi I am going to say thank you so much of Talgarth people for the warm welcoming and the nice hosting and the food they are very friendly I really appreciate that I had a wonderful time we had a short walking and chatting for an hour I really enjoyed it very much and also I enjoyed watching the football match


Hello ! Today was a great trip. Thank you for the hospitality and for organizing such sports activities. really was a great game. My eldest son loves insects and sea creatures and generally studies them and knows the world. for children it was a good experience and informative, not only for them but also for me. Thanks again to everyone who makes us happier!

Mr. A
Yes it was a very nice day. Thank you. We really enjoyed and exchanged chats and smiles:-*O:-):-*O:-)

Hi Wayne, I was astonished by the heart warming (tear welling) welcome provided by all at Talgarth yesterday. So much thought and work put in, but presented in such a caring, effortless way. Amazed to be hosted by the rugby club and the football guys, and felt welcomed in the village generally. Lots of smiles, contentment and comeraderie on the return journey. Wonderful. I said as much of this as I could yesterday, but please pass on a huge thank you from me. Kelly


Another fabulous day in Talgarth. Weather was mild to start with and eventually it became a beautiful day. Talgarth is a small village but has a lot to offer. In each visit there we discover something new and exciting things. This time it was the amazing Pwll-y-Wrach (Witches Pool). Walk to the waterfall turned out to be an adventure for the most. It was a hidden beauty in the woods. We thoroughly enjoyed following the river all the way up to the waterfall.
For those who have missed out due to mobility issues or young children also had a chance to go on river dipping with an expert. Kids loved their time playing in the river also  the Arts and Craft activities.
We all thought the morning was really interesting, nevertheless the Kush Stars made the afternoon full of excitements. Very impressive game ! Both teams played really well but obviously Swansea boys had the win.✌
Amazing food and drinks throughout the day. I loved the fresh salad and fruit that was served. Once again lovely volunteers from HBTRS put a huge commitment together to host a wonderful Welcome day and a brilliant sports event. Loved meeting friendly people at Talgarth and talking to everyone who came along to support.
Thank you so much !!


A friendly football match was organised as part of the day out in Talgarth. This game was a perfect pre-season friendly for Talgarth Town who are getting ready for a new season. However, for their opposition ‘Kush Stars’ it was a welcomed day out of Swansea competing against a fantastic well-run club.
Kush Stars were formed in March 2018 when they entered the Western Bay Community Cohesion Cup, a football tournament organised by South Wales Police, EYST and the BME Sport Cymru project.
The Community Cohesion Cup is a short football event which aims to gather a diverse range of players and community members together. The winners ultimately playing against South Wales Police. This is an ideal opportunity to increase participation in football, break down barriers in sport, build stronger relationship with the police and promote community cohesion.
Many of the Kush Stars players have been playing together for many years and this was evident when they were victorious during the 2018 and 2019 Western Bay Community Cohesion Cup.
Majority of the Kush Star players originate from Sudanese background, whilst a few come from Moroccan and Yemeni backgrounds.
The game between Talgarth Town FC and Kush Stars was of very high standard, with both goalkeepers being kept busy throughout the game, importantly making fantastic saves for their respective teams. The game was only separated by two late goals scored by Kush Stars striker Ahmed. There was also a penalty miss by Talgarth Town FC, which would have brought the score to 1-1.
Ahmed seemed to have lots of energy throughout the game, this could be down to him being one of the youngest players on the pitch. He also collected the man of the match award with his fellow striker partner Nasri.
Going forward we hope to see the Kush Stars enter more competitions and playing friendlies with other teams in Swansea and its surrounding area. The team are also very keen for a return trip to Talgarth and playing against Talgarth Town FC to ensure this special relationship with the club is maintained.

 Mohammed Basit

Footnote- This was the fourth year Talgarth have played a preseason friendly against a team of people seeking refuge and in all years the love of both teams for the game of football has shone brightly throughout the game.