Abkhazia is a partially recognised independent state at the Eastern coast of the Black Sea (Georgia declares that Abkhazia is a part of the country). Declaring sovereignty in 1990, Abkhazia is recognised only by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and other unrecognised nations. Abkhazia hosted and won the CONIFA World Football Cup in 2016. The photos of team Abkhazia are by Daria Papba, media manager for Abkhazia during the CONIFA World Football Cup. Now 25, Daria has played football since a young age. Daria is an art and culture journalist and educator, and is currently finishing a Masters at the University of Siena.
Who is in the photos?
Players and coaches of Abkhazian team during CONIFA World Football Cup 2018, which took place in England in May and June 2018. They were taken during matches in London, on different football fields such as Enfield Town.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
I was trying to capture emotions of the football players and coaches. We have quite a complicated political situation, which cuts off our country from the rest of the world. Being part of CONIFA helps our football players and their fans to see countries that they are visiting during tournaments, and also to get in touch with various cultures through meeting other players from different parts of the world.
Why is football so important for the people of Abkhazia?
Because Abkhazia is still “fighting” post war consequences, we do not have many opportunities for young people, and in this situation football is one of the brightest and most successful examples of youth development in Abkhazia. It unites people, and creates a strong common national interest.
What is the future for Abkhazian football?
Kids are playing football since they are very young, and also quite often you can see old men are playing - our people are really passionate about this game. So I think that football has a big future in Abkhazia.