Tripped-up Syrian refugee given football coaching job in Spain

Hungarian camera operator who stuck her foot out in front of migrants dismissed


Osama Abdul Mohsen, a Syrian refugee who reached global attention after being tripped up by a Hungarian journalist while fleeing from police, has started a new life with two of his children in Spain.

Footage of Petra Laszlo sticking her foot out and tripping up refugees, including Mr Mohsen as he ran with his son in his arms, went viral last week and led to the dismissal of the camera operator from a Hungarian television station.

On reading in a newspaper that Mr Mohsen had been a successful soccer coach in Syria, the head of the Cenafe Spanish football coaching school federation, Miguel Ángel Galán, invited him and his family to Spain. They have been given accommodation in the town of Getafe, near Madrid.

Mr Mohsen arrived in Barcelona from Munich with two of his children, Zaid (7) and Muhammad al-Ghabade (18), on Wednesday before taking a train to Madrid, where they arrived late at night. His wife and two other children are still in Turkey and hope to reach Spain in a couple of weeks.

“I love you all, I love you, Spaniards,” Mr Mohsen said in halting English on arriving in Barcelona, as his son Zaid waved and gave the peace sign.

Mr Mohsen decided to leave Syria with his family after being tortured by the regime of Bashar al-Assad and as terrorist group Islamic State approached their village. Of the Hungarian journalist’s now notorious trip-up, he told El Mundo newspaper: “I was surprised, and then felt hurt when I saw the fear and panic on my son’s face. Zaid cried for two hours, he was terrified.”

On their arrival in Spain, Alex Martín of Cenafe gave the family a Barcelona football shirt and two scarves of local team Llagostera. On Thursday, television news showed the family looking around their new flat in Getafe, which is being funded by Cenafe.

“Osama is absolutely delighted and extremely grateful,” said Mr Martín. “He’s told us that this is a unique opportunity and he wants to use it to the full.”

Mr Mohsen coached Syrian top-tier soccer side Al-Fotuwa SC and once he learns Spanish he will be given a chance to work with local professional team Getafe CF.

Spanish interior minister Jorge Fernández-Díaz said yesterday that the government will do everything possible to legalise the Mohsen family’s situation.