WHILE Wales qualifying for the Euros sparked much celebration across the country, one family in Cardigan will be forever fans of the beautiful game for very different reasons.

For Muhanad Alchikh, who fled war-torn Syria with his family to settle in the town, joining the local football team, Maesglas FC, became a surprisingly practical way to build a new life in rural west Wales.

Ffoadur Maesglas FC (The Refugee of Maesglas FC), a short film by S4C's online entertainment platform Hansh, follows Muhanad and his son Shadi on an emotional journey from their new home to the Theatre of Dreams.

Available to watch online, the documentary shows how football has the power to unite, heal and break barriers.

When Muhanad and his young family were forced to flee their home in Syria, they had no idea what life would be like. Football has transformed their lives by helping them to become a part of the local community.

In their search for asylum Muhanad, his wife Naihida and their three young children moved to Cardigan. The family need to learn new languages (English and Welsh) as well as adapt to an unfamiliar landscape and culture. It is a completely different world to family life in Syria.

Muhanad said: “I left Syria because of the war. The situation was terrifying. Towards the end, life there was bad but having to flee from your own country is just as awful.

“Here, there are good things. The best thing is the kind people. They always help anyone who lives around here. They love football very much. It’s indescribable.

“The players and coach are always here. They help me with whatever I need. And that's something I am proud of. I'm so pleased to see people helping each other.

"I love football because it's not affected by conflict and politics. It unites people." added Muhanad.

Saving shots and headers for his team gives goalkeeper Muhanad a sense of purpose within the tight-knit community. On the pitch, there are no barriers, everyone is united.

Football has also been a safe place for eight-year-old Shadi, who one day hopes to play for Manchester United.

Born in Syria during the worst of the conflict, he rarely leaves his father's side - he even stands by the goal during games. When playing football, war is just a distant memory for father and son.

Fellow player, Garfield Davies, said: “The opportunity for them to be here, playing, is just brilliant. You can just tell they are so happy to be here together enjoying football and enjoying Wales. Shadi comes to every game, every time we train, he's here.

“Like me and my own son, when we're on the pitch we just get lost in the game and in football.”

A few years ago, saving enough money to take Shadi to Old Trafford would have been impossible, but as they settle into life in Wales, this dream is now within reach and the future looks bright.

Shadi said: "My dad is a hero. We were in the middle of a war, but life is so different today.

"We are proud to call Aberteifi our home now, and the community our friends. Things we thought were not possible are possible now."

Ffoadur Maesglas FC is presented by Hansh in association with Mundial magazine, a football lifestyle magazine. Online platform Hansh is usually known for shorter comedy clips. It’s longer films on hot topics are a relatively new venture but one that is proving popular as its audience grows and matures.

Previous releases include Dreigiau Digartref (about the Homeless World Cup) and Hoyw, Balch, Caru Rygbi (Gay, Proud, Love Rugby!).

More releases are planned for the coming weeks, including a film about Patagonia by Garmon ab Ion and a film on Nefyn born designer and artist, Niki Pilkington, who now spends her time in LA working with huge brands.

Watch Ffoadur Maesglas FC with English subtitles at https://youtu.be/Gss-Stb_ASE