Many of the talented players taking part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup come from humble beginnings and started by playing soccer in the streets where they grew up.
In Africa, the game is often played with bare feet, home made balls and crookedly constructed goal posts. This is what photographer Jessica Hilltout captured in her book Amen – Grassroots Football. She took beautiful photographs of children playing soccer in Southern and West Africa.
Street Soccer in the Western Cape
Street Soccer is played with five players on a side and the team that scores three goals first wins.
The government of South Africa have realised the importance of street soccer not only in developing young soccer stars, but also in improving health and in keeping children occupied and out of trouble. Playing in a team helps these children to form bonds where familial bonds are not always strong and where gangs have often fulfilled the need of youths to belong.
In the Western Cape, the 2010 Unit of the Provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport organised street soccer tournaments by taking inflatable pitches to disadvantaged areas. Creative Consulting & Development Works learned about this initiative while revamping the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport’s website.
Edgar Davids’ Football Fever Street Soccer Tour
Through the Football Fever Street Soccer Tour, organised by Edgar Davids of Holland, grassroots soccer has actually brought youths from various parts of the world together. The universal language of soccer has ensured that youths from different backgrounds, cultures and nationalities can relate to one another. The Edgar Davids team have now reached the final leg of their tour, namely South Africa. The tour could be followed through videos posted on You Tube.
Watch the video of the Holland team playing the street soccer team in Alexandra township in Johannesburg.