Pakistan are scheduled to participate in the Street Child World Cup (SCWC) 2014 for the first time in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to give the country’s youth a chance to gain exposure and showcase their skills in the football competition.
Chris Rose, the founder of the event, held a press conference at the Karachi Press Club yesterday and stated that the initiative with Pakistan was not just to take players for a football event; it was rather a platform to generate government interest in the cause of child equality.
“In many countries these children are called cockroaches, dirt, little thieves,” said Rose during the press conference.
“But through football, these children can wear their national colour in an international competition. We are trying to give them a platform for recognition.
“Our SCWC 2010 in Durban was very successful. It was later endorsed by the United Nations as well. Even the cost of this event is far less than just campaigning for their rights. This year we have 20 countries participating in the SCWC. In Brazil alone, 650 organisations are working to prepare their teams.”
In Pakistan, the SCWC is collaborating with the Azad Foundation along with British Council and Unicef. The process of forming a team has been a tough one according to Rose and Syed Itfan Maqbool from Azad Foundation.
As many as nine players will be representing Pakistan in Brazil in a seven-a-side format. While the event itself will have 10 nations participating in the female category and 15 teams in the boys’ event, Pakistan will only send the boys’ team consisting of U16 players.
Pakistan also have a good chance, says Rose
Rose further said that since India won the SCWC 2010, Pakistan also have a good chance. But at the same time Brazil, Argentina and Tanzania have been preparing for the competition and have stronger teams.
“It will be a challenge for Pakistan, but it’s just a beginning,” Rose told The Express Tribune.
Rose will see the Pakistan team for the first time today in an invitational match at the Ibrahim Hyderi Football Stadium.
The team will join Indonesia, India and Philippines from Asia. The event is not affiliated with Fifa, but different countries and their national football federations are working to prepare their players according to their convenience.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2013.