The children from the Youth Football Club (YFC) of India did the nation proud when they emerged victorious at the inaugural Deloitte Street Child World Cup, held from 15th-22nd March 2010 in Durban, South Africa. It was organized by the Durban University of Technology and Umthombo Street Children – an organization run by former street children. The seven-a-side football tournament consisted of teams from Brazil, UK, Nicaragua, Philippines, Tanzania, Ukraine, Vietnam, India and the hosts South Africa.
India accompanied Ukraine, Nicaragua and South Africa in Group B. Our boys made a convincing start after thrashing the hosts and crowd favourites 4-0. After the disappointment of a one goal loss to Nicaragua the young guns from India qualified for the semi finals after a thumping 8-0 win over Ukraine.
In the semi-finals, India ran into European giants United Kingdom and played an inspiring game of football which helped them hand UK a 3-1 defeat. In the finale, India met the East African nation of Tanzania. It was a tight contest with neither team wanting to give an inch away. But in the end, India was able to score the only goal of the match and with that lift the first edition of Street Child World Cup.
The core of this Indian team was formed by the kids from a small village Rurka Kalan in Jalandhar, Punjab. The credit for grooming up these kids from North India should go to the Youth Football Club (YFC), which put in lots of effort while working with the underprivileged kids from Punjab. YFC is supported by the Khalsa Football Academy (KFA) which is a UK based organization who has helped YFC in providing shelter and education to the youth in Northern India. I-league club JCT and Punjab government have also been associated with this youth football movement.
The coach of YFC, Kulwant Singh, is more than satisfied with the progress shown by his team and is hopeful that in the near future they will be able to produce more players like Anwar; a former lad from YFC who is now an integral part of the Indian national team.
Once again, the world’s most popular sport provided the world with an occasion to unite as one and witness the wonderful display of humanity, dignity and hope in young people. From an unfortunate life of misery to performing on their very own world stage, it was incredible to see how the whole initiative brought the best out of children from all over the world and did wonders to their confidence; sending out a massive statement to reach out to the human race.
As for India, the way the street children settled in a foreign country and showed the courage to go toe-to-toe with the rest of the football-crazy world, they deserved every bit of success and accolades which came their way.
Pull them off the streets, and they will do wonders – the message has been sent, are you listening?
“I know from personal experience just how much power football can have to inspire and change young people’s lives whatever their background or nationality. This is what the Deloitte Street Child World Cup is all about and I give it my full support.”
– David Beckham