Media Alert: Official Farewell For SA Homeless Street Soccer World Cup Team
South Africa’s 2017 Homeless Street Soccer World Cup team received an official send-off today, 24 August 2017, from Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, and Minister of Social Development, Adv. Albert Fritz.
This year the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport contributed R250 000 to the team’s participation at the annual World Cup.
The South African Homeless Street Soccer programme, managed by Oasis Place, is open to youth between the ages of 14-35. It aims to create soccer leagues in 20 local communities by 2020. Oasis Place is officially registered with and funded by the Western Cape’s Department of Social Development (DSD). The programme incorporates life skills training, HIV/AIDS awareness, as well as training camps in preparation for the Homeless Street Soccer World Cup.
On their return from the World Cup, the team will be involved in youth development initiatives such as the Oasis Place “Reach for Your Dream” programme, which empowers youth and adults to become self-reliant members of their communities.
The 15th edition of the tournament will take place in Oslo’s iconic Rådhusplassen, Norway, from 29 August – 5 September.
The annual event brings together street football programmes from around the world, affording each player the opportunity to represent their respective nation with passion and pride.
The tournament aims to challenge public perceptions of homelessness and related issues. By showing the human side of homelessness, the foundation aims to help breakdown stereotypes and change the ways in which we think and talk about homelessness.
Over 500 players representing more than 50 countries will participate in the 2017 World Cup, in what is promised to be the biggest and most ambitious tournament yet.
Team SA consists of 8 players selected from across the country. Representing South Africa at the World Cup will be:
- Mzikayise Depha from New Crossroads
- Igshaan Gancitana from The Ark, Faure
- Ricardo Swartz, originally from Belhar but currently resides at the Ark, Faure
- Thando Mthambo from New Crossroads
- Bonginkosi Nxhosa from Kwa-Zulu Natal
- Aviwe Ganyanthi from Swellendam
- Athenkosi Qusheka from Molteno, Eastern Cape
- Anele Jamekwana from Molteno, Eastern Cape
Minister Marais is extremely proud of the team and grateful for the management and guidance provided by the team managers, coaches and support systems.
Minister Marais said: “The team has risen above many challenges to make positive choices. They are going beyond street soccer to get involved in youth development opportunities made available to them. As long as there is hope, motivation, self-determination and a helping hand, anyone can reach their full potential. Participating in the World Cup creates a sense of belonging, teamwork, respect, self-confidence, passion, pride, hope and unity”.
Minister Albert Fritz said: “We are proud of our association with Oasis Place, and wish the team success as they represent South Africa. Our Department will continue to provide services to homeless people, including funding 1391 bed spaces at shelters across the province, and 2500+ beds in the City of Cape Town. We will continue working with organizations to promote family reunification and support”.