Teams Tanzania (boys) and Brazil (girls) lifted the 2014 Street Child World Cup (SCWC) trophies; but on an incredible day at Fluminense stadium last Sunday, all of the players were crowned champions.
Team Liberia joined with all of the other countries, including the USA, Pakistan and Indonesia, to celebrate what has been an amazing experience at the SCWC in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"Football is what brought everyone together," said a blog post at the team's web site. "It is a universal language understood by all corners of the globe, and it helped deliver the message…… 'I am Somebody'."
The tournament was a vehicle to gain the world’s attention and make the hundreds of street children taking part realize that they are important and that they do have a voice. The closing ceremony provided just such an opportunity when every team dressed in the cultural outfits and performed different forms of entertainment including singing and dancing.
In a full day at the Estádio das Laranjeiras. Under the gaze of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) four games were played to determine the final standings from first place to fourth.
Boy’s 3rd and 4th place play off- Pakistan 1-1 USA (Pakistan wins 3-2 on penalties)
Girls 3rd and 4th place play off – El Salvador 1-1 Mozambique (El Salvador wins 2-1 on penalties)
Boys Final – Tanzania 3-1 Burundi; Girls Final – Brazil 1-0 Philippines
After the games, all of the players received a medal and special awards to recognise their contribution to the event.
Team Liberia was praised for the team’s positive spirit, and Coach Sam Burnette was hailed as Coach of the tournament.
"Throughout the trip, everyone involved has made Liberia and Street Child of Liberia extremely proud; and upon their return people will see them not as street children, but as champions," organizers said.
Meanwhile, Team Liberia’s Public Relations Officer in Monrovia, Tarsha M. Jackson, told the Daily Observer yesterday that the team will be arriving home on Thursday, and arrangements are being made with the media to give them a heroes’ welcome. Team Liberia outran South Africa and Egypt and many thought they would wrestle the trophy, but lost to Burundi in the quarter-finals.