There were euphoric and emotional scenes in Amsterdam today when Greece beat Switzerland to lift the INSP Trophy at the Homeless World Cup.
It was a poignant moment as three members of the team are vendors with the Greek street paper Shedia, which has close connections to the country’s street football programme.
INSP is proud to sponsor the award that celebrates those competing in the bottom tier of the tournament, as the original idea for the Homeless World Cup came out of a discussion at an INSP summit in Cape Town, South Africa, 14 years ago.
The Greeks fought back after going two goals down in the opening minutes of the match to secure a 6-2 victory over the Swiss squad. It is only the second year Greece has entered the event.
“I still can’t believe it, it doesn’t seem real,” said captain Nikolaos Petropoulos, clutching the coveted trophy after the match.
“I’m so happy for myself and the whole team. This is a once-in-a-lifetime feeling.”
When asked about the most important thing he got out of the tournament, Nikolaos replied: “Love. Every country here is united.”
Manager Chris Alefantis is also the editor of the street paper Shedia. “I’m proud of the way that they have conducted themselves throughout this tournament and stuck to the principles this event,” he said.
“Us winning the INSP Trophy is a strong symbol because it’s all about love and solidarity and becoming better people, that’s the whole idea.”
Greece is one of just several countries to bring a mixed team to the Homeless World Cup. Stella Kantzilidou, who sells Shedia in her home city, Thessaloniki, started out for Team Greece in today’s final.
She says she is overwhelmed at their victory and was glad the sun was shining when her team won.
“I was so worried when I looked out the window this morning but everything just came together today,” she said with a smile. “I don’t think I will sleep tonight, I’m just so happy.”