Streetfootball World Cup kicks off without Nigeria and Ghana05 July 2006

The inaugural edition of the Streetfootballworld festival has kicked off in Berlin –Kreuzberg without the teams of Nigeria and Ghana, who were refused entry visa.
The German consulates in both countries gave reasons bothering on migration.

Yomi Kuku, the project director of Search and Groom, the organisation who selected Nigeria's team told in an open letter:

“I spoke with the Nigerian team on Friday and the young kids hailing from Ajegunle, a slum in Lagos, were virtually devastated and weeping. During the discussions with the players, two of the players asked me a simple question that left dumb.

These young boys were banned by the United Kingdom (five African countries were banned) from playing at the 2005 Homeless World Cup played in Edinburgh and in their anger said the decision was racially motivated. We counselled them afterwards that they should look beyond this.

But these young boys asked me. Brother, if last year was not racially motivated what about this year? They ask why we are targeted like a jungle game. They asked me if it is their fault that Nigeria is in economic mess. They asked why they are being used as stunts for media and publicity stunts by the German Embassy in Lagos.

They asked a million and one questions I could not answer and which I hope the German Embassy in Lagos or the German Home office can help me answer.

These boys were looking forward to seeing historical Berlin and the wall, where freedom was an inevitable fact and also play a part in the FIFA World Cup which of course is a lifetime opportunity for all those who appreciate football as a unifying religion.

Our hope was that since Germany had said it’s time to make friends with this World Cup, this is a matter of religion. They have definitely made a lot friends but how much undue enemies have they made too?”

The Streetfootballworld festival 06 an official element of the Artistic and cultural programme to the 2006 FIFA World Cup and is funded under FIFA’s Football for Hope-Programme and the German Federal Ministry for Youth.

The final of the tournament will be played on 8 July.