How football helped 4 Congolese students find their place in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Atibu brothers, Patrick Basanga and Daniel Mulonda made the journey along with their families from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Houston in search for a better life.

It was all a matter of destiny for the four boys, who without knowing, would end up on the same neighborhood street in northeast Houston.

"The reason why I came over is for a better education, because over there the education system is really bad," running back Germain Atibu said. "Most students don't have an opportunity to go to school or be in the classroom."

Soccer was the boys' first love growing up back home. With a sense of curiosity and wanting to adapt themselves to the culture, all four jumped into the game of football.

"At first, it was hard adjusting because of the language barrier, but eventually I caught on. Having them around made it easier because we communicated the same language. It was like you had family at this school," wide receiver Mulonda said.

The boys take pride in their African roots, speaking French on the field, in the classroom or simply when they are just hanging out.

"I think, even though they have not been in the states for a long time, they embrace their roots," said head coach Thomas Land. "They take hold to it and don't shy away from anyone."
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