Football as a tool for social transformation

Oslo 2017 represents Chilean manager Sebastian Alcalde Segura’s second year as part of his country’s set-up for the tournament, and a role he relishes.

“It was very important for the women’s team to win the first game. It wasn’t easy playing in front of 3,000 people, and at first they were a little nervous. But after that they showed the amount of work they have put in over the last few months. They seemed relaxed.”

Sebastian is well aware of the difficult road that the players have taken until arriving in Oslo, and seeing them take to the field provided plenty of satisfaction.

“The girls are from all over Chile, and the journey to this point hasn’t been easy for them. They are girls that have come from areas of social risk; some have had problems with alcohol and drugs and others have spent time on the streets. So seeing them sing the national anthem was very gratifying.”

And he is certain that participating in this year’s tournament will serve as a platform for the players to help others who themselves have encountered problems.

“After this year’s tournament, the players will return to Chile as ambassadors and will help other people to steer clear of the conflict they themselves were part of, situations concerning drugs, alcohol, the street and bad habits.

“It would be of no benefit to see the players win the Homeless World Cup and return to the same life they lived before. That’s why we are working with them, so that when they return home they can really change their lives. And I firmly believe that the support through football is a tool for social transformation.”

Words: Craig Williams
Image: Romain Kedochim