One Cloudy Afternoon at the Homeless World Cup, Amsterdam

Amsterdam based photographer Anubhav Jain has captured the true essence of the Homeless World Cup on a cloudy and rainy September afternoon. Penned by Srinwantu Dey, Goalden Times is proud to bring the exclusive and assorted collection of those visuals that captured the true essence of the beautiful game.

Their life is gloomy, ragged and pensive but their spirit is unflagging. Their fight for survival continues, their fight for existence influences many.

The Homeless World Cup hosted in Amsterdam last month celebrated the undying spirit through languages of the beautiful game – a game that connects the whole world, a game that joins hundreds of hands to create a new world. Regardless of the winner, the other world cup at Amsterdam was an emblem of spirit, an insignia of humanity. As many as 74 countries took part in the show and made a significant change to the lives of many thousands – all through the beautiful game of football.

There was technique, there was emotion, there were chants and, above all, there was respect, like any other World Cup. For eight days ‘The Museumplein’ (Museum Square) of Amsterdam celebrated the great journey called life through football.





This World Cup curated an album of memories and stories. Players from different corners of this planet who faced numerous challenges in life participated in this event to fight through their challenges. While some drew courage from others, a few became inspiration for others, and still some fought against gender stereotypes, crime and addiction. The stories were vast, intriguing and bewildering. Take the example of Angie Malaver, the Peruvian goalkeeper, who fought all her life to earn the right of play being a woman because in Peruvian society it’s still a taboo.  She was the only woman in the Peruvian team this time and wants to pass on her legacy to other women back in Lima.







The Scottish captain Toby McKillop’s story was even more amazing. The man who fought against his drug-addiction, was left homeless and came back from the brink of suicide – slowly gaining the trust of his family, thanks to his rehabilitation through playing football. This World Cup is not just a World Cup but a pioneering social movement. The bonds they develop with their team players, the respect they earn from their opponents, help them individually to lead better lives. The games played here are, needlessly to say, expressions of emotions than mere exhibition of skills. The way they celebrate a goal or jump for a tackle sums up their lives in a nutshell.





Even the bad weather and rains couldn’t dampen the spirit and exuberance on the field. The fans were crazy, shouting and clapping all the time; while the players were sliding and running around the wet turf. At the end of each game, two teams held hands and celebrated together. A unique gesture that denoted that they were in this fight together. This event brought together India’s Rohini Pashte, Zimbabwe’s Brave Lifa and many others who are fighting for themselves and also for others in their respective villages, slums. Goalden Times wishes them all the very best. Let the beautiful game bring about a change in their lives and others’ too, around them.







Anubhav Jain

About Anubhav Jain

Anubhav jain works for The Boston Consulting Group and is waiting for Indian football to make its mark on world forums. He can be reached at a.anubhavjain