Kenya wins World Cup - in street football

10th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 July 2006, BERLIN - A Kenyan team Saturday won the first street football world championship, beating one from South Africa 4-3 in a penalty shootout.

10 July 2006

BERLIN - A Kenyan team Saturday won the first street football world championship, beating one from South Africa 4-3 in a penalty shootout.

Twenty-two teams of youngsters from poor backgrounds had taken part in the week-long tournament in Berlin, focusing attention on the game's gritty origins and its power to fight social ills.

Organisers said the winning team from Kenya emerged from the most successful project of its kind in Africa, involving 17,000 young Kenyans from 16 slum areas.

Players come from projects that use football as a way to promote non-violence and fight drug abuse, poverty and AIDS.

Play opened in a specially constructed stadium for 2,200 spectators in Berlin's ethnically-mixed Kreuzberg district. One team featured a mix of Israelis and Palestinians.

The winners received the Copa Andres Escobar, named after the Colombian international who scored an own goal in the 1994 World Cup and was murdered after returning home.

Originally 24 teams had been due to compete, but Germany denied visas to two teams from Ghana and Nigeria.

Media reports have suggested that German embassies viewed members of the Search and Groom side from Lagos and Play Soccer from Accra as illegal immigration risks.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose department is responsible for the decision, was whistled and booed at last Sunday's opening ceremony. FIFA President Joseph Blatter also attended.

Organizers say the tournament, for players aged 16 to 21, was about "team spirit, global learning, and living without violence. It's all about football as a cultural mediator and a medium for social development."

DPA

Subject: German news

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