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Dreams crushed for young players after Norway Cup
« on: July 28, 2007, 12:41:45 PM »
Dreams crushed for young players after Norway Cup

Children from developing countries hope for a brighter future after being invited to the annual Norway Cup, which kicks off this weekend. Upon return to their home countries, they often find that the tournament did not live up to their dreams.

The annual international children's soccer (football) tournament Norway Cup kicks off in Oslo this weekend. More 30,000 young players from 45 different countries will descend on the football field, for a week of fun, football and friendship.
 
But while Norway Cup, now in its 28th year, takes pride in its multicultural, peace-promoting image, the reality of the tournament might have a flip side, according to an article published in newspaper Aftenposten's weekend magazine, known as A-magasinet.

Every year, several teams from developing countries, often sponsored by ideal organisations, are invited to play at Norway Cup. In the aftermath of the cup, however, young players from poorer countries are often disappointed, and find that their expectations of a brighter future after the tournament are crushed.

"It was very difficult for many people. We experienced what life was like in Europe, and then we came back to the life we have here," said Kapesa Liato, interviewed by A-magasinet back home in Zambia.

She was part of a highly successful team, Kawbata Girls, from Zambia, which won Norway Cup in 1999 and in 2000.

"We expected that the girls would be headhunted to other counties to play international football and be able to live off it. That's what we were hoping," said Elida Lungu, representative of the parents of the players on the Kawbata Girls team.

Another parent, Peter J. Munjunga, added:

"If I knew that the football was just for fun, I would never have let my daughter play. Why would I have, when she could have stayed at home and done something useful?"
 
Oscar Mwaanga, who through the ideal organisation Edusport Foundation trained the Zambian girls in football during their glory years, said that if Norway Cup officials don't have a plan for the children after the cup has ended, the children should not be invited.

"There are a lot of self-appointed ambassadors for Africa at Norway Cup. But Africans themselves never have a say. But I don't blame Norway Cup. It's a cup for Norwegian children, not for African children," he said.

The CEO of Norway Cup, Frode Kyvåg, told A-magasinet that "for 70-80 per cent of the children" the cup proved a "positive experience." He added that it is Norway Cup's partners, organisations such as Save the Children and the Red Cross, that are responsible for the follow-up of the children in the aftermath of the cup, after they have returned to their home countries.

However, only one of the ideal organisations that A-magasinet has been in touch with had any idea what has happened with the children who have attended the cup in previous years.

Source: Aftenposten.