Collin Matiza Sports Editor
THINGS are slowly coming together for Team Zimbabwe for the 2016 Homeless World Cup tournament with the news that the Liverpool Homeless Football Club has agreed to host them ahead of this international event in the UK in July.
The Homeless World Cup is an annual football tournament organised by the Homeless World Cup organisation, a social organisation which advocates the end of homelessness through soccer.
The organisation puts together an annual football tournament where teams of homeless people from each country compete and the 14th edition of the Homeless World Cup has been slated to run from July 10-16 in Glasgow, Scotland.
The tournament will take place in the heart of Glasgow, on George Square, which, for the duration of the seven-day event, will be, “the most inspiring place on the planet”.
In total, 64 teams, representing 51 countries, including Zimbabwe, will come together to celebrate and highlight the year round life changing work of the Homeless World Cup National Partner network.
More than 500 players will arrive in Glasgow each with their own story to tell, their own point on a journey to create a better life for themselves.
Among these players that are heading to Glasgow for the 2016 Homeless World Cup will be eight underprivileged athletes from Zimbabwe who were recently invited to take part in this global tournament for the second year running after having taken part in the last event which was held in July last year in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
And the team yesterday received a huge morale booster as they prepare for their trip to Glasgow with the news that the Liverpool Homeless Football Club has indicated that they would like to help them in their final preparations for this year’s tournament in the UK.
In fact, Team Zimbabwe for the 2016 Homeless World Cup, through their co-ordinator Petros Chatiza, recently roped in former Dynamos centre-back Chamu Musanhu, who is now based in Liverpool, England, to help them in their preparations for this tournament.
And Musanhu in turn engaged the Liverpool Homeless Football Club at his base in north England who indicated that they would like to host their counterparts from Zimbabwe for a week ahead of the 2016 Homeless World Cup.
Speaking to The Herald from Liverpool yesterday, Musanhu said he has managed to put together “a package” which will see Team Zimbabwe playing a number of friendly matches in the famous north England city before they head out to Glasgow to compete in this year’s Homeless World Cup.
“I’ve just had a successful meeting with the Liverpool Homeless Football Club, who are also going to compete at the same tournament in Glasgow, and they promised to help us (Team Zimbabwe) in our final preparations for this event in July.
“They are trying to organise a mini-tournament in Liverpool with other teams that are going to the Homeless World Cup, including Zimbabwe.
“In fact, when I met them this morning they mentioned that they would like to help Team Zimbabwe in a big way as they would like to host them and they are prepared to do that. They also mentioned that they are going to help them to meet the Mayor of Liverpool and also to familiarise with the place.
“They also promised to take the guys to the gym for two days as well as providing them with transport, food and accommodation. They said they have done this before as they have been to the Homeless World Cup for several times.
“But the most important thing is that they said all this need funding and they are going to try to raise the money through Homeless Liverpool on Twitter and that is going to be great (for us) because they’ve done this before and within a week they raised between 1 500 to 2 000 Pounds.
“So they said they will do a budget for Team Zimbabwe and then arrange a (training) programme for us for one week and it’s very good and it is a good start as they are also interested in other projects in Zimbabwe and everywhere which will see them supplying goods like pens and books to schools,” Musanhu said.
And this is going to be a welcome development for Team Zimbabwe who are currently on a fund-raising drive for the airfares of their proposed 13-member delegation for this year’s Homeless World Cup.
The co-ordinator of Team Zimbabwe for the Homeless World Cup, Chatiza, recently indicated that they are looking at raising $16 510 for their airfares to the UK and they’ve approached several companies with the hope of getting some sponsorship for this trip.
“Apart from the airfares, we also need some extra money which will help us to cover some other expenses, which includes the players out-of-pocket allowances during our intended one-week stay in Liverpool, as food and accommodation will be paid for by our hosts once we get to Glagow for the Homeless World Cup,” Chatiza said.
He added that they are expecting to arrive in Liverpool on July 2 or 3, stay there for a week and then travel to Glasgow where they are expected to arrive on July 9, a day before the 2016 Homeless World Cup explodes into life.
And with the coming in of the Liverpool Homeless Football Club as one of their global partners, Team Zimbabwe will surely be not “walking alone” during this year’s Homeless World Cup in Glasgow.