Tibetan football team: an inspiring story of a Kaospilot

Do you know that the Tibetan Football Team was revived by a Kaospilot? It was in 1997 when the Danish Michael Nybrandt got the idea to revive the national football team in Tibet. Since the regime of Mao Tsetung and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, football in Tibet was reduced to a mere amateur league.

It is an incredible story of a young KaosPilot who had two deep desires: to play football and to change the world somehow. Michael brought his two passions together and founded the Tibetan Football National Team.

tibetan-national-team-2

Before he started his education at the KaosPilots, he had a dream while on a bicycle adventure on Tibet that he was the manager of Tibetan national football team. Tibet isn’t recognized as independent state and the country didn’t even have any football team at that time.

As a KaosPilot he managed to overcome many obstacles and barriers to start this amazing project organizing one match with the Tibetan Football Team’s manager Karma Ngodup in Dharamsala (India, where is the home of Tibetan government-in-exile) to select the players who would represent Tibet internationally and be trained by the coach Jens Espensen.

In 2000, when the selection of players for Tibet had taken place, there was no internet connection yet. The contact and communication was only possible by fax and by phone calls. Anyway, Michael decided to go for this idea.

As Tibet is not recognized as a state, there were political and practical challenges along the way. Only to organize a football match! As shown in the documentary The Forbidden Team, it was a long journey with a lot bureaucracy to provide the travel documents and visa to go to Denmark, where happened the first match against Greenland.

From the selection of players until the match against Greenland, there were obstacles and refusals to play a match against Tibetan team regarding political interests, difficulties regarding visa and travel documents, practical challenges such as the lack of proper training infrastructure. Difficulties that in the end were overcome with the attitude, to allow dreams to come true; from the darkness to the light.

What is the essence of Michael’s project? It’s not about fighting against a political regime (Tibet is currently under Chinese control), it’s just about having the chance to play football, having the freedom to do what you like to do as human being. And that’s what makes an individual adventure a universal story to inspire people.

After the documentary The Forbidden Team, Michael has published a powerful graphic novel on this adventure: Dreams in Thin Air.

Michael Nybrandt will be at the KaosPilots school in Bern. In a public storytelling event on Sunday, 23rd October, 2016 he will be sharing his story and give insights into his inspiring journey. The event will happen from 16:30 h to 19:15 h.
Entrance fee is CHF 20, for students CHF 10. Confirm your presence by signing up with an e-mail to fly@kaospilots.ch.

PS: You can also check Michael’s interview for the KaosPilots in Denmark about how he made his dream come true.

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