The 17th edition of the Homeless Soccer World Cup takes place in Cardiff, Wales, later in July and eight South Africans are preparing for an opportunity of a lifetime in a tournament that changes lives.
64 teams from over 50 countries will be participating.
The aim of the Homeless World Cup is to seek a better future for homeless individuals through soccer.
The Homeless World Cup is not only for people living on the streets, but people who have been marginalised, people who were involved in gangsterism and drugs as well as people with no jobs and no prospects.
Clifford Marthinus from Oasis says that they are extremely excited to be going to the event again.
“We are extremely excited to be doing this again. This will be our 10th year as Oasis running this process and touring with almost 80 people so far over the years. It’s important to say to community change is indeed possible that lives can be changed through sport. We acknowledge support from our government minister in the Western Cape Anrouw Marais.”
There are eight players in the squad from all around the country. Matches are four-a-side and last 15 minutes with two halves of seven and a half minutes each.
The team was chosen after having trials around the country.
Previous World Cup tournaments have been in Norway, Chile and Amsterdam.
SA team head coach, Ricardo de Reuck, says this event gives young people an opportunity to change their lives.
“We excited about taking the team to the World Cup excited about the young people giving them an opportunity and to change their lives.”
It’s an important tournament that changes lives, opens doors, expands the players horizons and helps break down stereotypes and perceptions about homeless people.