The team representing South Africa in the Homeless Street Soccer World Cup in Wales bid their fans adieu as they left for the competition last night, and are preparing to play their first match on Saturday July 27. This is the 17th Homeless Soccer World Cup, and SA has been competing in it since 2016.
The team was handpicked by a local NGO called Oasis Reach for a Dream, and includes eight players from five different provinces across the country, the Western Cape one of them.
“We do not only target people who are living on the streets, but also those who are in informal settlements and townships and are exposed to high levels of drugs and crime. The street people selected must also be part of an NGO so that they will have a network to return to when they come back home,” Clifford Martinus, founder of Oasis, said to IOL. “For this tournament, we targeted young people 18 years old and older, but we also have different football clubs that we start in underprivileged areas where we target young people who are 14 years old and older, using football as a tool for social development and teaching these young people valuable life skill.”
The eight players are:
– Sibusiso Joseph Dyantyi
– Tankiso Vincent Lesia
– Wade Samuels from Parkwood, Western Cape
– Sinesipho Dayimani
– Katleho Moses Molieana from Gugulethu, Western Cape
– Lucky Tyokwana from New Crossroads, Western Cape
– Sbonelo Ngubane
– Yandisa Nomadluka
“We know this team will make our nation proud. Furthermore, supporting initiatives such as the Homeless Soccer World Cup Foundation serves as a way to bridge the gap between our vulnerable youth and those who are more fortunate. We are pleased that many of the selected individuals in this team, wish to use their own experiences to uplift fellow youth in their communities,” MEC for Social Development Sharna Fernandez said.
Mayor Dan Plato said, “We are pleased at the efforts of the programme, which offers constructive ways for vulnerable youth and street people to improve their lives. In addition to the interventions offered through the foundation, the City of Cape Town offers a range of ways to support vulnerable people with the aim of bettering their daily experiences. We are 100 percent behind our team and are excited to see them make us proud.”