Sohan Durave (24), who hails from a financially constrained family of Chhindwara, was selected to represent the country in Homeless World Cup also known as Slum Football to be played in Chile from October 19.
Sohan needed Rs 1.85 lakh to participate in the tournament — an amount too big for somebody who hails from a family in which the sole breadwinner is the mother, a domestic servant.
Till Tuesday, Sohan had been able to arrange just Rs 35,000 with the help of his family members and Slum Soccer Krida Vikas Sanstha — a Nagpur-based organisation that identifies players for Slum Soccer World Cup.
Durave had almost given up hope when a group of local youths decided to help him out. They formed a group on WhatsApp and started messaging people about Durave appealing to them to come forward and contribute.
By Thursday evening, Rs 1 lakh had been collected. The remaining amount was collected through donations from good samaritans. However, destiny had something else in store for him.
In an unfortunate turn of events, Durave could not fly to Chile as his visa could not be processed in such a short span of time. The process of collecting money took time which meant delay in applying for the visa and thus the delay.
Durave's coach Homakant said, "We applied for visa in two stages — in the first stage for players whose flight tickets were booked an in the second stage for Sohan as his flight ticket was not booked because of monetary problems."
"We tried our best. I assure you that he would definitely play in the tournament next time," said Homakant, who is also a member of Slum Soccer Krida Vikas Sanstha.
"I am very sad that I couldn't go but I am hopeful that I would be able to go for future tournaments," said Durave.
What is Homeless World Cup or Slum Soccer?
Homeless World Cup is a network of 70 international partner organisations that uses football to improve the lives of homeless people throughout the world.
It supports grass-roots level football programmes and social enterprise development via a network of 70 international partners and celebrates its work by organising an annual football tournament that unites teams of homeless people from several countries across the globe.
Under the guidance of Homeless World Cup, international partners provide access to professional services homeless people need — education, employment, health and legal advice.
The organisation helps participants in making the most of this experience on their return. It helps them to carry on with their lives and become models or ambassadors for other homeless people in their countries.