Homeless team extends begging bowl

HARARE - Zimbabwe's World Cup of Children from Care Homes team is looking for sponsorship to take part in this year’s edition of the tournament in Warsaw, Poland.Tinashe Mapuranga, who is the director of the Kutting Edge Sports partnering the Ministry of Labour and Social Service responsible for the team yesterday, said their plea to raise money for the air tickets has so far fallen on deaf ears.

“We are appealing for assistance for air tickets,” he said. “We feel these children deserve their chance to participate. We are struggling to raise about $12 000 needed for the air tickets.

“We are now running out of time because we are supposed to be there by at least Friday.

“We have approached some big companies and some influential business people but nothing has materialised.

“It will be a very sad developed because last year we also failed to send a team owing to financial constraints.”

Zimbabwe has already picked a team of nine players for the tournament and the team has been in camp preparing for the tournament which is expected to run between June 13 and 14 in Poland.

This annual tournament literally brings football to the streets. Its stars are not pampered prima donnas; all have experienced homelessness in the past two years, or are part of the drug or alcohol rehabilitation schemes.

The project's core aim is to teach young people by giving them access to high quality coaching in football, assertiveness and life skills.

By participating these youths have fresh motivation for life and have a reason for living.

The World Cup of Children from Care Homes is unique in that all the participating nations do not have to go through the qualifiers to go to the finals unlike the Fifa World Cup.

The tournament will be attended by the maximum of 32 football teams from Care Homes from all over the world.

The players are children, both girls and boys, up to the age of 17 (born 1998 and younger).

The games to be played will include group phase games, knockout round and the grand finale. The best players of the Cup will play a friendly game with international football stars.

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