Nine Liberian boys, from ages 14-16 may have the opportunity to participate in the Street Child World Cup, which comes on two weeks before the actual World Cup in Brazil, next year.
According to Street Child of Liberia, a non-governmental organization which launched its first project yesterday, the team will be known as Team Liberia.
Project Coordinator Mark Maughan told the Daily Observer in an interview that the trip will cost about U$35,000.
He said the amount will fund tickets, food, accommodation, transportation and other requirements.
“We have had some positive responses from those we have contacted to raise funds for the trip,” Maughan said.
He said the Street Child World Cup has a world audience since many countries send their kids to participate in a soccer tournament, before the actual World Cup.
He said the team will remain in Brazil for two weeks, and gave a tentative date of departure as March 26, next year.
To that end, he said there is a regular training for at least 35 young people that nine would be selected for the trip.
“We organize weekly training sessions for the boys,” Maughan said. “And we play in areas including West Point and Chicken Soup Factory.”
He said discipline is encouraged among the kids and qualification for the trip is also based on how well a kid behaves to work with others.
Maughan noted that though there are currently 211 children in its program, the football aspect is a part that motivates children to become ambassadors for their countries through sports.
Contributing, team manager Sam Burnette, lll said the efforts are geared towards changing the perception on street children.
“They have a future,” Burnette, lll, said, “and they can grow to make valuable contributions to our society once we give them the push.”
He explained that a street child is not a child who is always on the street but the one who struggles to survive in the street.
He added that Street Child of Liberia has professional volunteers who are devoted to assist a Liberian child who needs the comfort of a mother and a place to call home.
The Liberia Football Association’s vice president for administration, Mr. Musa Shannon, has reportedly supported the initiative.
The Street Child of Liberia said the LFA will be invited to provide coaches to support the program.