Football brings Hope to Alexandra

Friday, July 2, 2010

Johannesburg - While the World Cup has brought the greatest football teams on the planet to South Africa, the Football for Hope Festival 2010 will assemble 32 teams that represent the power of the game to bring about social change.

From 4 to 10 July, 32 mixed teams of boys and girls aged 15 to 18 years from across the globe will be in Alexandra, in northeastern Johannesburg, for a festival of football, reports

The participating teams will represent organisations that use football to tackle issues such as ethnic violence, environmental pollution, HIV/AIDS education, landmine education and gang culture.

For the first time ever, the social dimension of the game will be integrated into an official FIFA World Cup event. Football for Hope is more than just a football tournament; each team has been selected not for their skill on the pitch but for their contribution to social change in disadvantaged communities around the world.

During their stay in South Africa, they will not only play football but will also take part in workshops and activities where they will learn from each other and improve their work.

They represent over 50 organisations from 32 countries, including traditional football powers like Germany, Cameroon, Brazil and Argentina, as well as others such as India, Lesotho, Tahiti, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Australia, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

The festival will include a programme of cultural celebration by the international visitors and their South African hosts. The City of Johannesburg, which has organised the festival along with FIFA, Streetfootballworld and the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Organising Committee, hopes that it will help write a new chapter in the history of Alexandra, a suburb of Johannesburg.

According to FIFA's Henry Nasale, the director of the Football for Hope centres, the 2010 World Cup has never just been about football, economic gains or increased figures for the country, although those are all effects of the tournament.

Ever since South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 tournament, the main focus of the event and its organisers had been to create an African tournament and awareness of the issues that the continent faced, he said.