The Homeless World Cup kicked off on Sunday after welcoming teams from across the planet in Glasgow.

Dozens arrived into Glasgow International Airport having jetting to Scotland from North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australasia.

After arriving, teams were transported to Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) where they will be based during the tournament, receiving a warm welcome with music and dancing adding to the excitement of the occasion.

Kick-off comes as organisers promise that George Square, where 416 games will take place, will be the most, “inspiring place on the planet” for the duration of the tournament. 100,000 spectators are expected to visit the Homeless World Cup during the week-long festival.

Two female players have been included in the team representing South Africa at the Homeless World Cup soccer tournament in Scotland.

In their opening match over the weekend, the South African team beat Denmark 4-3 in Glasgow.

Western Cape Sport MEC Anroux Marais said that the players served as an inspiration.

Her spokesperson, Stacey McLean, said: “It is a team of eight players who have been selected from across the country and for the very first time, the team includes two female players. When the team returns after the World Cup, they will be involved in positive youth development initiatives, such as the Oasis Reach for Your Dreams programme.”

Entry is free & no tickets are required to games, albeit it is expected at key times (particularly when Scotland play) it will be very busy so spectators should arrive in plenty of time for games they wish to see.

The Duke of Cambridge said in a welcome video to all participants” The scale of homelessness across the world is staggering, with 100 million people defined as homeless, and a further 1.6 billion lacking adequate housing.

“The Homeless World Cup Foundation is taking a unique approach to this problem, using the universal language of football to tackle the issue.”

“Each year, they bring together 52 teams from every continent to compete in a street football tournament, this year hosted by Glasgow.”

“Every one of the 512 players in this tournament is homeless. They have each engaged with programmes run by the foundation to deal with some incredible personal challenges to make it here. This competition is a celebration of all that they have achieved so far, using football as a means to get back into a more stable life.”

“For seven days in July, George Square in the heart of the city will be “the most inspiring place on the planet.”

“The Homeless World Cup is a sporting event like no other. We know that sport has immense power to give people a purpose, to improve both physical and mental health and to boost people’s self-esteem.”

“In bringing together competitors from over 50 countries, each with their own story of personal hardship that most of us will never have to tackle, the Homeless World Cup will energise and engage people who, for whatever reason, have become socially excluded.”

It was from men and women such as these that many football teams first received their support and moral sustenance. In these clubs was invested the pride and dignity of working men and women who were denied both of these considerations in their workplaces or at the hands of the state.

The links between football and poverty and its original working-class roots remain strong, even though many clubs behave as though they wished they were not.

So today and for the next week let’s celebrate football’s real values with the 64 teams competing in the Homeless World Cup. And let’s not forget that, for many, in the century and a half since football was invented, housing inequality is still a reality.

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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