Football for Hope

As most of the world gets ready to watch the Spain Netherlands finale many may not know that there is another kind of football final also taking place nearby that is of a very different nature.
This final will take place in Alexandra, one of the city’s poorest townships and a hotbed of protest during the apartheid years in South Africa.
Amid the corrugated iron shacks and slum housing, where the young Nelson Mandela once lived, two groups of teenagers will face off in the deciding match of “Football for Hope“, a five-a-side tournament running alongside the World Cup.
Like the World Cup, 32 teams have taken part in the tournament in recent weeks.
But rather than playing for their countries, the players here are representing community groups from around the world that have one thing in common — they all use football, in one way or another, to try to make the world a better place.
For example, there is a delegation from Cambodia that encourages children to play football, and then — once it has their attention — teaches them about the danger of land mines.
The magic of Football is being used to bring kids together and educate them about HIV and AIDS.
“The Peace Team” is from Israel and Palestine, and includes players from both communities. Other teams have come from Ireland and the Balkans, where they use football to unite children and heal sectarian and ethnic divisions.
Plenty of reasons there to remind us why the game is called “joga bonito”

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