Collin Matiza Sports Editor
AFTER having impressed at the last edition of the Homeless World Cup soccer tournament in the Netherlands last year, Zimbabwe have once again been invited to take part in the same international event in Glasgow, Scotland, in July.
Last year’s Homeless World Cup was held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where Team Zimbabwe did well to come 15th out of 48 teams, winning the hearts of many football fans who attended this annual event that is designed for the homeless and underprivileged people from around the globe.
In fact, Zimbabwe missed the previous edition of the Homeless World Cup that was held at Santiago, Chile, in 2014 but they managed to send a full team of eight players and two officials to last year’s tournament in Amsterdam where they were fully backed by Poland-based former Zimbabwean footballer Musareka Jenitala who used to turn out for the now-defunct local Premiership side Darryn T under Polish coach Wieslaw Grabowski.
And now the door has once again been opened for Team Zimbabwe to feature at the 2016 Homeless World Cup in Glasgow.
This year’s Homeless World Cup will take place in the heart of Glasgow from July 10-16 and for the duration of the seven-day event, Glasgow’s George Square will be “the most inspiring place on the planet”, according to the organisers of this year’s tournament.
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.
“Five hundred and twelve 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.
“George Square will be converted into an outdoor street football venue for the event, with three purpose built pitches with seating. Up to 100 000 of spectators are expected to attend the tournament,” the organisers of the Glasgow Homeless World Cup said in their official website yesterday.
And Zimbabwe, through the co-ordinator of the country’s Homeless World Cup team, Petros Chatiza, will be part of this football jamboree in Glasgow after having received the official invitation to take part in this year’s tournament in January this year.
“After our team impressed at the last edition of the Homeless World Cup in Amsterdam in the Netherlands in July last year, we have once again been invited to take part in the same tournament in Glasgow, Scotland, in July this year.
“In fact, we have been part of the Homeless World Cup tournament for more than five years now and we’ve managed to send teams to Australia in 2011 and then to the Netherlands last year although we failed to take part in the 2014 edition in Chile after having sent a delegation, minus players, to the same tournament in, Poland, in 2013.
“We also missed the 2012 tournament that was held in Mexico but I’m happy to say that we will be attending this year’s Homeless World Cup in Glasgow and we are looking at raising $15 000 for this trip to Scotland in July,” Chatiza said.
Joe Kuseka, who is the communications and publicity manager of the Homeless World Cup Team Zimbabwe, also said that they were now in the process of engaging a number of stakeholders and well-wishers who will help them in raising the required funds for their trip to Glasgow.
“Just like what we did last year’s tournament in Amsterdam, we intend to send a full team of eight players and two officials to the 2016 Homeless World Cup in Scotland and we are once again looking at making our presence felt there just like what we did in the Netherlands.
“We are now running around, fund-raising for this trip to Scotland and we just hope that a number of well-wishers will come to our rescue and help us send a team there.
Accommodation and food will be provided for the duration of the tournament, however travel to and from Glasgow must be paid and organised by the participating partner,” Kuseka said.
Unlike the FIFA World Cup, the Homeless World Cup football tournament has its own rules.
The fast-paced games are four-a-side and played in two halves of seven minutes each, with a one minute break for half-time.
Men’s and women’s teams compete for separate cups, however women can play in the men’s team. Each team consists of up to eight players, four of which are on the court at a time, including the goalkeeper.