Angus comes from the Nigerian city, Onisha, and fled from his home country because of religious reasons. As a Christian, his life was threatened because of rising tension between Muslim Sharia movements and Christians in Nigeria.
Angus was born in 1985 and arrived in Austria in 2002 as a 17-year-boy seeking asylum in Graz. He was looked after by CARITAS and still lives in a CARITAS asylum shelter. His asylum case is still proceeding, which is not unusual in Austria, where decisions might take up to 10 years. His case received a very positive push following his successful participation in the Homeless World Cup in Graz.
The media exposure achieved on becoming the first World Champions in Austrian football history opened many doors to personal support, education, sports activities and friendship. This significantly improved his integration in to Austrian society, which is an important part of his visa case.
After Graz 2003 Angus started to attend German language courses and is studying for a diploma at high school. He was signed by a semi professional football club in the regional league of Styria (SC Murfeld) and now plays for FC Graz. In his first season he finished top scorer and many experts predict a bright future for him. He has also performed in mixed Afro-Austrian theatre projects ("We also play a role", TAO, Graz) and is enthusiastically pursuing his acting career.
What were your first impressions of Austria?
"My first impressions were that I have arrived in a safe country where I do not need to fear for my life. My situation in Nigeria had become life threatening because of religious reasons. In Nigeria life can change very quickly and become dangerous. Austria was very peaceful and people were nice to me."
What were the hardest and best moments for you in Austria?
"I had to deal with many new things I did not know before. First the food was not easy for an African. It was hard to realise that some people have a negative attitude towards Africans. They do not see you as a person but only that you are black or they might suspect that you are dealing with drugs, which is a common prejudice towards asylum seekers. Sometimes it was hard to be patient, to wait for a decision in your asylum case, to wait for a possibility to do something. Learn, work, become better in life.
The best moments were making friends and the Homeless World Cup. It was so great to play football, all African friends, and to play for this audience, to win the Cup for Austria. This has really improved my life a lot. I am grateful for everything and this chance.
The funniest experience?....
"To see snow for the first time in my life."
How did you hear about the football and the Homeless World Cup?
"I heard about it when some friends of mine started playing in the MEGAPHON team (the football team of the streetpaper in Graz, which is predominantly sold by African asylum seekers). The coaches Emeka and Sigi (Milchberger) trained well with us and we won the Austrian qualification. That was a good feeling. But it became special when the Cup started. To meet all the other players from different nations, to meet other African players, they were great moments and also showed me the different living situations people experience, and what homelessness can look like in the world."
What are your special memories?
"My special memory of the Homeless World Cup was celebrating with all other teams and after winning crossing the central square with the Cup and the flag in our hands. We were heroes for the people of Graz and a lot of good energy came back to us."
How did you change after Graz '03?
"Homeless World Cup gave me great motivation, I really wanted to move on in my life. It was hard for us players, for the World Champions, to return to our lives as asylum seekers. As an asylum seeker you have to be patient a lot, you know, wait for chances, everything goes very slowly and you often have nothing to do, have no possibility to do something. The Homeless World Cup opened chances for me. The most important â€“ I have good friends now. I also play football at a club, and I am getting an education. I am learning the German language and attending High School to get a diploma. I also like acting very much. Two of us players started to work with a local theatre, we had a successful production, and now I hope to get involved in a local film project."