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Bayern star, ex-refugee Davies raises funds for those forced to flee

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Berlin (AFP)

Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies says it would be a "disaster" if the coronavirus reaches one of the world's many refugee camps -- like the one he was born in.

The 19-year-old started life in a refugee camp in Ghana after his parents fled the civil war in Liberia.

The family emigrated to Canada when Davies was five years old.

The move was made possible by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for whom Davies helped raise funds by playing a virtual match last Saturday.

His opponent was AC Milan goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, 32, another former refugee who fled to Germany from Bosnia as a young boy before also eventually settling in Canada.

The pair went head-to-head in the eFootball PES2020 livestream tournament, organised by the UNHCR to help the 70 million refugees around the world.

"Right now, the main focus is to raise money to help get refugees whatever they need," said Davies in a video press conference Tuesday in Munich.

"Obviously social distancing is tough for them with things so compact (in the camps) and if corona hits one of those refugee camps, it could be a disaster.

"I just want to use my platform to spread the word and help as much as possible.

"They (UNHCR) helped me out when I was in a camp and I wanted to support them."

The online game raised around 9,000 euros ($9,755) in donations.

"It was really fun, but I think he won more games than I did," admitted Davies with a smile.

The Canadian teen joined Bayern in late 2018, and nailed down a first-team berth at left-back this season despite arriving from Vancouver Whitecaps as a winger.

The Bundesliga season was halted in mid-March due to the coronavirus, but Davies has kept busy improving his German and last week signed a contract extension until 2025.

He has entertained Bayern fans on social media during the lockdown with videos of him trying to master tricky words in the Bavarian dialect.

His dubbed imitation of the Backstreet Boys hit "I Want It That Way" went viral on TikTok.

"I love entertaining," Davies admitted and smiled when a reporter from broadcaster RTL jokingly offered him a guest role in one of their soap operas.

The German Football League (DFL) has said it is ready to resume from May 9, albeit behind closed doors, but Angela Merkel's government must still give the go-ahead.

With Bayern four points clear at the top of the table and on course for an eighth straight league title, Davies said playing the remaining nine games in near-empty stadiums will be a challenge.

"If it happens, it is going to be different," said Davies. "The fans are a part of us, but it's for everyone's safety, so I don't mind it."

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