Napoli hosted 25 young migrants at the Serie A match against Lazio on Saturday in an initiative with the city’s administration. The youngsters were rescued from the sea by the coast guard on Oct. 23, after arriving on a boat from Africa.
They sat in the stands with Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris and showed a banner with the words “Forza Napoli” and “thank you” written in different languages.
Near them were schoolchildren of similar ages from Naples, who were invited to the match.
“Symbolically, it’s the utmost image of our city’s welcome because we know how strong, profound, deeply rooted and indissoluble is the link between the city of Naples and the football team,” De Magistris told Italy news agency ANSA.
“Taking these kids to the stadium is a sign of really great hospitality, affection, friendship.”
The youngsters were set to meet players including defenders Kalidou Koulibaly and Elseid Hysaj after the match, which finished 1-1.
Koulibaly’s parents emigrated from Senegal to France, while Hysaj’s father came to Italy on a boat from Albania in the early 1990s.