Christchurch's homeless population are struggling to keep
their street footy league going due to lack of venues post
Homeless people, or "Streeties", used to gather on Monday
nights at Crichton Cobblers to play four aside soccer.
But the earthquakes claimed the building leaving them with no
place to play.
Christchurch City Mission's Gray Crawford said they had been
using Latimer Square when it was fine and a church in
But now the church is unavailable, which could spell the end
of Street Football Christchurch.
Homeless footy has been played in Christchurch for six years
and every year a team is sent to the national competition
Street Football Aotearoa against streeties from Auckland,
Wellington and Dunedin.
Christchurch coach Bryan Brooks said: "Playing there gives
them a real identity - makes them feel they belong to the
city and are representing them. It builds their confidences
and gives them a lot of ownership where normally they are on
the fringes of society."
More than 40 streeties would show up every Monday in whatever
attire they could muster. Businesses have been known to
donate sports gear but sometimes they play in barefeet or
Mr Crawford said the game is highly competitive with men
selected for the national side who go on to represent New
Zealand at the Homeless World Cup.
Two from the Christchurch team were selected to play in the
world cup 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The streeties did some fundraising and an anonymous donor
provided the rest, said Mr Brooks.
"We have to be sort of reasonably selective when picking
people to go overseas. They have to be vouched for by a JP
[Justice of the Peace] but they have only minor offences. And
the Christchurch City Mission is well thought of which
helps," he said.
This year the world cup will be in Poland but it is unlikely
Christchurch will be represented.
"We need a training space - it doesn't have to be huge, the
size of a netball court is fine," said Mr Brooks.
* If you know of a venue phone the Christchurch City Mission
on 03 365 0635.
- By Shelley Robinson of The Star