“Hope is the most important thing in life. If you give up on hope, you might as well die.”
These are the words of Martin Africa, the captain of South Africa’s homeless street soccer team that represented our country at the Homeless World Cup last year.
The Homeless World Cup was started in 2003 and has brought 4-a-side street soccer to an international stage. In each competing country, players are drawn from grassroots soccer initiatives that engage destitute people who would otherwise be involved in gangsterism, drugs and crime. A prerequisite for these players to represent their countries at the World Cup is that they have to get off the streets.
So, even though players are homeless when they are recruited into these teams, they have a little place to stay and perhaps a small source of income by the time they represent their country in front of the world. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these people, something they will always remember, that shows them what is possible.
A documentary film about the South African team’s journey to the previous Homeless World Cup in Australia, entitled Streetball, was produced by From Us With Love. It was shown at, among other events, the 17th Annual New York African Film Festival, the Arizona Black Film Showcase, the Africa World Documentary Film Festival in Bermuda and Festival Cinema Africano, Asia ed America Latina in Italy.
Watch the trailer of the video below and as Bafana Bafana take on France today in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, remember to always keep hope alive!