By Kate Obodo
With the FIFA Â Â Â World Cup in South Africa fast approaching, FIFA and streetfootballworld have announced Nigeria and 31 otherÂ delegations that will take part in the â€œFootball for Hope Festival 2010â€, holding from June 28 â€“ July 10, 2010 in South Africa.
Search and Groom youth for development centre (an official part of the Football for Hope movement) will be selecting the Nigerian team to South Africa. Other countries that will be in attendance includes Host South Africa, Brazil, England, Germany, Argentina, Senegal, Ghana, Colombia, Australia, United States, an Israeli/Palestine joint team, France etc.
The festival is an official event of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africaâ„¢ and will also be a highlight for the â€œFootball for Hopeâ€ movement; the key element of the strategic alliance led by FIFA and street football world, demonstrating the power of the game both on and off the pitch.
The 32 teams will be comprised of boys and girls from social football programmes around the world, gathering in Alexandra, South Africa to represent the power of football for social change participating in a range of workshops and activities dedicated to improving the social dimension of the game. In addition to these events, a fast-paced football tournament will be held in a specially constructed stadium in the heart of Alexandra. No referees will be on hand, so any disagreements between teams must be resolved through dialogue.
The letter of invitation jointly signed by FIFAâ€™s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Federicho Addiechi and streetfootballworld Managing Director, JÃ¼rgen Griesbeck and addressed to Yomi Kuku, Executive Director of Search and Groom, stated that Search and Groomâ€™s confirmation is in recognition of its outstanding contribution to advancing social development through football.
Meantime, FIFA President Joseph S Blatter added his voice to the all important event in a message of support saying that;
â€œThe Football for Hope Festival will be a unique opportunity for organisations using football as a tool for social development in every part of the world to interact with each other and to showcase their programmes on footballâ€™s biggest stage â€“ the 2010 FIFA World Cup,â€ â€œWe look forward to welcoming them to South Africa and experiencing together how football is contributing to building a better future.â€
The two-week festival will also include a programme of cultural celebration between the international delegations and their South African hosts. The City of Johannesburg, which will organise the festival along with FIFA, streetfootball world and the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa, hopes that the event can help write a new chapter in the history of Alexandra, which suffered from xenophobic attacks in 2008.