Homeless football in Greece

From the very first time I learnt about the “The Power of Football Contest”, I was sure about the person I was getting ready to write about. Christos Alefantis, founder of the Greek homeless national football team.

I met Christos two years ago. The Greek homeless national team was about to fly to Mexico to participate in the annual World Cup. Before that I had only read about the project for homeless national teams that can now be found in a variety of countries around the world. When it began in Greece, a lot of people were asking, “But are there really any homeless people in Athens?"

In the last few years the Greece national homeless football team has become a lifeline for many people. Not only for the homeless but also for desperate civilians who have lost everything to strict austerity measures. People who lost their jobs and have been searching for work for months or even years in-vein and even for refugees that have come to Greece as transit migrants, searching for a better life.

Christos invited me to attend a training. I heard stories about people that were addicted to drugs and managed to escape because of the team, because of the game. I met a young girl that discovered the true side of football, playing in the training match with the passion of a Champions League finalist. Homeless people that had become outcasts are making friends again. True feelings that only football can generate.