By Jake Lippincott
Egypt’s team in the Street Children’s World Cup is set to face off against Brazil in first match of the tournament, according to a Tuesday statement by the event.
The tournament features teams of teenagers from five continents, all of whom are or were homeless. The players are representing their respective countries and raising awareness for the plight of street children across the world.
Street children have long been ubiquitous across Cairo and have become a symbol for deteriorating social conditions in Egypt. The Egyptian team is made up of 18 children who were forced into homelessness when their parents died, were arrested or who simply abandoned them. The team is coached by Egyptian investment banker Karim Hosny, who also co-coaches the football team at the American University in Cairo.
Egyptian participation in the tournament is intended raise awareness for street children and present them in a positive light. Coach Hosny previously told Daily News Egypt “The aim is to change the perception of people towards street children.” According to Hosny, “People look down on anyone living on the streets, but these are children – it’s not their choice to be in this situation.”
Besides raising awareness, Hosny said the experience of playing in a football team also gives his players desperately needed structure in their lives. Football “attracts and includes a lot of dynamics that we experience in real life, with the different positions on the pitch, the different characters, team work… it’s very powerful in teaching and rehabilitating,” said Hosny.
The tournament kicks off on 30 March with the Egypt-Brazil match in Brazil and will feature 16 teams.