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World Cup for the Homeless

 Soccer skills

From 24 to 30 September, about 500 homeless people from all corners of the world will be showing their soccer skills at the Grand Parade. South Africa will host the 10-day Homeless World Cup for the first time. The Homeless World Cup started in Austria in 2003, and takes place every year. It was held in Scotland last year.  Organisations that work with homeless people, drug treatment centres and shelters, choose people from the age of 16 upwards to play in the tournament in these tournaments.

 ‘Big Issue’

The Homeless World Cup was started by community businessman Mel Young of Scotland. Young started the Big Issue magazine in 1993. The magazine is sold by homeless people at street corners worldwide. It has stories about homeless people and how they can improve their lives.  Since the magazine was started in South Africa in 1995, it has helped put more than R8 million into the pockets of homeless and joblesspeople.  The head of Big Issue in South Africa, Richard Ishmail, said the tournament helped highlight the talents of soccer players who would otherwise not have a chance.

 International support

Ishmail said they worked closely with the Department of Social Development. A task team will help to get other government departments into the project.  The tournament is supported by various international companies, as well as the South African Football Association, FIFA, and the SA 2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee. The matches will be shown on international television and broadcast on radio. SABC will show the final and highlights of the matches. - Ndivhuwo Khangale

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