A giant football, marking the countdown to the FIFA World Cup 2014, lay displayed outside the Brazilian Embassy in Islamabad this past Monday. It stood not only as a symbol of one of the biggest international tournaments, but in honour of the team from Pakistan that finished third place in the Street World Cup 2014.
The Brazilian Embassy hosted a lunch in Team Pakistan’s honour, where they distributed prizes to each of the nine players. The team recognizable by their blue T-shirts that read “I am Somebody” with yellow Brazil caps consisted of: Sameer Ahmed, Abdul Raziq, Aurangzeb Baba, Salman Hussain, Owais Ali, Faizan Fayyaz, Muhammad Shoaib, Mehr Ali and Rajab Ali. The story of the nine boys raised in the slums of Karachi and Quetta, who, in true underdog style, surprised the world with their unexpected victories. Team Pakistan made it to the semi final, but lost 3-4 to Burundi.
The team was joined by the organizations that helped them achieve their living dream, their coach, Abdul Rashid, Azad Foundation Chairman Naveed Hasan Khan, Muslim Hands Director Amjad Rasool, and Chief Executive Officer of the Street Child World Cup John Wroe. The Brazilian Ambassador Alfredo Leoni congratulated the team, emphasizing the need to strengthen cooperation in sports and to encourage other street children. Hence, other organizations working for the elevation of street children were also honoured at this event. These institutions included the Mashal Model School in Nurpur, Rah-e-Amal and LettuceBee Kids,
As the nine boys chanted and danced in their circle, surrounded by news cameras and reporters, they stood out as reminder that even if you come from nowhere every little boy and girl on the streets is a “Somebody”. They may not have lifted the world cup trophy, but they lifted the spirits and hopes of the nation with the new slogan for their campaign, ‘I AM SOMEBODY. Play for your rights! If we can do it, so can you'
(February 20, 2018)
(February 16, 2018)