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Vatican soccer champs dedicate victory to Coptic Christians


Clericus Cup Final between Pontifical Urban College and the Pontifical Gregorian University on May 27 2017. Photo credit: Daniel Ibanez 7 CNA

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Vatican City, May 31, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Upon winning the Vatican's annual soccer championship last week, the victorious team honored Christians in Egypt who have faced increasingly brutal persecution in recent years.

“I would like to dedicate this trophy to our friends from the Coptic Church,” said Deacon Sama Joan Romeo of Cameroon, the team captain of the Urban Lions.

Catholic seminarians and clergy drew soccer teams from the pontifical universities and colleges of Rome May 27 for the 13th annual Clericus Cup competition.

The competition's press officer, Felice Alborghetti, said the competition should be considered a “world cup” because players from five continents and 66 countries are on the teams, which went through four qualifying rounds to reach the finals.

“In the final we have at least 20 countries (represented),” he told the EWTN news show Vaticano. “There are a lot of Europeans, Spaniards, Rumanians, Germans, a Croatian and a Hungarian player.”

African players are  heavily represented on the team from the Pontifical Urban University, nicknamed “The Lions of Africa.” They hail from countries including Uganda, Cameroon, Tanzania and Botswana.

“All the world is playing in the field, not so much to highlight the word of soccer, as that of the Gospel,” Alborghetti said.

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