Russia defeat Kazakhstan

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Russia defeated Kazakhstan one-nil in the final of the homeless World Cup soccer trophy in Cape Town, South Africa.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Cape Town:

Nearly 500 competitors from 48 countries - from as far afield as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Ukraine, the United States and Afghanistan - gathered in Cape Town for the fourth annual Homeless World Cup. They all shared a common bond of destitution and marginalisation but hoped their participation would instil confidence that would enable them to gain a better foothold in society back home. With the African players, many were orphans or victims of war. Many of the European and North American players on the other hand had left their homes after falling out with their families, while others had a history of alcohol and drug abuse. Despite the occasion being a tournament with countries pitted against one another, there was an air of carnival amongst the fans. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the occasion. "It's wonderful. Winning the trophy is not really important, it's the wonderful time we are having, the friends we meet and sharing with each other. It's just about discovery, that's very important for us,” said Besong Eyong, French player. Russia and Kazakhstan made it through to the final, with the former finally winning the tournament thanks to a single goal. It was a great day for all the players, who felt like heroes. Being homeless they are used to people looking down on them - but here the men could celebrate a victory and the applause that comes with it. The Russian team had trained long and hard for the win. "All the preparation took about four years, we took part in four World Cups, but from to time we had some challenges, some problems we had to overcome, but the results of overcoming is in my hands,” said Arkady Tyurin, Russian team manager. The homeless World Cup has been successful in Austria, Sweden, Edinburgh and now Cape Town. Organisers will be hoping the tournament will go from strength to strength in the coming years. (AP)

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