The Salone team in this year’s Homeless World Cup is prepared to participate in the competition slated for December 1-7 in Melbourne. 56 nations will unite for the biggest tournament in the history of the Homeless World Cup, including the first Women’s Cup.
Players who are homeless will stand proud and represent their country at an international football tournament that aims to end homelessness and change the world.
“With barely about 96 days to go until the Melbourne 2008 Homeless World Cup kicks off there is real anticipation and excitement building and we invite the world to watch as the players stand proud and show us what is possible,” said the founder and President of the Homeless World Cup, Mr Mel Young.
“The Homeless World Cup has demonstrated the power of sport to change lives, to change the world. The sixth Homeless World Cup in Melbourne is the pinnacle of the year round work by grass-roots football programs in 56 nations, which bring together over 30,000 players for training, to rebuild their lives and communities.
“The Homeless World Cup is growing fast, traveling to the far corners of the globe to engage people who are homeless, to change hearts and minds, and to pioneer imaginative solutions to address this key global issue.”
Launching the official event countdown today, Victorian Premier John Brumby applauded the Homeless World Cup as an innovative way of raising awareness and addressing the issues of homelessness and poverty on both a global and local scale.
“The Homeless World Cup is more than another sporting event for Melbourne. It’s an event that uses the positive power of sport to change the lives of homeless and marginalized people around the world,” Mr Brumby said.
“The event is a great example of how sport can be used to reconnect homeless and marginalized people with the community, and to rebuild lives, confidence and self-esteem.”
Research consistently demonstrates that over 70 percent of players experience significant life change as a result of participating. Players build up self-esteem, come off drugs and alcohol, move into homes, jobs, education and training, repair relationships, and even become coaches and players with professional or semi-professional soccer teams.
And for the first time in the history of the Homeless World Cup, a Women’s Cup will be included at the Melbourne 2008 Homeless World Cup.
Eight nations and 80 women will compete – Cameroon, Columbia, Ivory Coast, Kyrgzstan, Uganda, Zambia, Liberia and Paraguay – to become the first-time champions.
In previous competitions women have made up approximately 10 per cent of the players and have created significant change in their lives. Michele da Silva represented Brazil at the Copenhagen 2007 Homeless World Cup, winning best female player before going on to be selected to represent Brazil in the national under 21’s women’s team.