The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Homeless Team Broke

ZIMBABWE are facing the danger of missing out on competing at this year's Homeless World Cup soccer tournament in Mexico City, Mexico, due to financial constraints. The 2012 Homeless World Cup, designed for the homeless, is slated to run from October 6 to 14 at Plaza de la Constitución, Zócalo in Mexico City.

The draw for the 2012 Homeless World Cup was held on September 4 in Mexico City and Zimbabwe were placed in a tough Group G with Portugal, Austria, United States, Romania and Sweden.

Zimbabwe have already picked a team of nine homeless players for this tournament through Hatcliffe-based Zimbabwe Youth Achievement Sports for Development (YASD), who are the Homeless World Cup partners in this country.

Players for Team Zimbabwe for next month's Homeless World Cup were selected from Harare's high-density suburbs of Hatcliffe and Mbare.

One player was also selected from Mutoko.

Petros Chatiza, the project-co-ordinator of YASD, said yesterday that their plea to raise the more than US$50 000 for the trip to Mexico City has so far fallen into deaf ears.

"We are still struggling to raise about US$55 000 which is required to cover all our expenses for the trip to Mexico for the Homeless World Cup.

"We have approached a number of local companies, knocking on the doors of some influential people and individuals here in Harare, asking for some financial assistance, but all has so far proved fruitless . . . We are really in a desperate situation.

"Time is fast running out for us as we have less than three weeks to raise this amount and if we don't, then we'll have no choice but to abort our trip to Mexico City.

"This will be a very sad development for us as we are really looking forward to taking part in this year's Homeless World Cup and leave a mark there after a three-year absence from this exciting tournament," Chatiza said.

A total of 62 teams have entered this year's tournament in Mexico City in which 54 will take part in the men's competition and 14 in the women's section.

Since 2003, the annual competition has been hosted by cities across the world as homeless players unite to celebrate changing their lives and raise awareness of homelessness.

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