The world’s largest soccer tournament opens in Oslo

This year, for the first time ever, an Albanian girls team is participating in Norway Cup. The girls have never before been abroad, and they are very excited to be here. Photo: www.norwaycup.no

This year, for the first time ever, an Albanian girls team is participating in Norway Cup. The girls have never before been abroad, and they are very excited to be here. Photo: www.norwaycup.no

What has become known as the world`s biggest soccer tournament, the Norway Cup, kicked off in Oslo on Sunday, and 30,000 young boys and girls from the age of 10 to 19 from 48 nations will participate.

1400 teams will fight for a place in the prestigious finals to be played on Friday July 31st and Sunday August 1st.

Most of the tournament’s 4000 matches are played at Ekeberg, on a plateau overlooking the city, while other games are played on smaller fields around Oslo, more than 60 stadiums are used.

Girls participated in Norway Cup right from the beginning in 1972. This was quite extraordinary, even for a country in the forefront concerning women’s rights, like Norway. The Norwegian Football Association (NFF) recognised women’s football officially 4 years later, in 1976.

Every year 20-30 teams from underprivileged areas are invited to participate in the Norway Cup, which cooperates with a number of organisations in bringing the teams to Norway and providing free board and lodging for the week.

In the 80s Norway Cup started an aid project in Tanzania together with the Norwegian Football Association, NFF. It was one of the first sports projects in the third world. The efforts were directed at the disabled, says NC secretary general Frode Kyvaag.

In 1989 a new project saw the first light, MYSA, the Mathare Youth Sports Association in Kenya. It all started with 15 to 20 youths from the slums of Nairobi. Today it is a movement consisting of more than 15.000 young people who not only play football, but are involved in projects like the fight against AIDS. As it is Mathare has become one of the best football clubs in Kenya.

Source: Norway Post/NRK/Norway Cup

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