The first edition of the Street Child World Cup was staged in South Africa ahead of the 2010 World Cup and featured Brazil, South Africa, Nicaragua, Ukraine, India, the Philippines, Tanzania and a team from England.The first edition of the Street Child World Cup was staged in South Africa ahead of the 2010 World Cup and featured Brazil, South Africa, Nicaragua, Ukraine, India, the Philippines, Tanzania and a team from England.
India won the inaugural event, which proved so successful that it was decided to hold it ahead of every football World Cup.A typical participant is Sixteen-year-old Mohammad Salman who thought that he was destined to live his life on the mean streets of Karachi, addicted to drugs, begging for survival and with no prospects for a better future.Now he is set to represent Pakistan in the second edition of the Street Child World Cup which starts in Brazil this week.”In my past life I was like a street urchin, using drugs, running away from school and studies. I was an addict,” said Salman, who left home at age 13 after fighting with his parents.”We didn’t know what we were doing and what we should do. I was staying away from home.”Salman’s salvation came after he was spotted by the nonprofit Azad Foundation that rehabilitates street children in Pakistan.The Amos Trust, a British nonprofit organisation, convinced football’s governing body Fifa to initiate the Street Child World Cup in 2010.
The second edition will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro in March-April 2014.According to the Azad Foundation, Karachi is home to roughly 200,000 street children, many of whom end up joining gangs that are linked to political parties engaged in a bloody battle for control of the city.