The inaugural Homeless World Cup is currently underway in Graz, Austria and the Big Issue team from South Africa have had some outstanding results- including an 8-1 win over and a 10-1 win over Wales.
The South Africans then went on to lose 4-2 to the Netherlands, before bouncing back with a 3-0 win over Wales.
The S.A. team is being coached by veteran Santos captain Edries Burton, who has been instrumental in the success the People's team have achieved over the last couple of years.
The competition, which has sponsorship backing from the likes of UEFA, UNO, Austrian Soccer Association, Manchester United, Real Madrid Fundacion and Ajax Amsterdam.
The18 teams participating are all made up of homeless people from all over the world who make a living by selling newspapers/ magazines such as the Big Issue on the streets.
The tournament will be played according to the International Street Soccer Rules on a specially constructed street court which measures 20x14meters. Each team is made up of three outfield players and one goalkeeper. Due to the intensity of the action, matches will be limited to two seven minute halves.
There will be matches played throughout the week as the teams try to qualify for the final to be played on Saturday,
There will be also be various music programs, concerts and ceremonies, culminating in the Prize ceremony and final party after the final.
The S.A. squad will return home on Tuesday the 15th and will no doubt be richer for their experience:
"Visiting a foreign country and participating in an international sporting event is a dream come true for some of these players. We at The Big Issue believe strongly in giving people the opportunity to realise their dreams. It doesn't matter if we win or lose, whatever the outcome of the tournament, our players will come home winners" said Ben Williams, Associate Publisher of The Big Issue South Africa.
The countries taking part are: Brazil, Denmark, Germany, England, Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, USA, Wales.
The South African team is the sole African representative at the competition and consists of eight players originating from Langa and Khayelitsha in Cape Town, who are all between 18 and 35 years old.
The team will also be doing it's bit to promote South Africa's quest to host the 2010 World Cup by wearing World Cup bid logos on their kits.
By Anthony McLennan