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The Dreamers

Alexia Webster/Twenty Ten

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

The Dreamers

Alexia Webster/Twenty Ten

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Every year, thousands of young, aspiring soccer players flock to South Africa with the hope of finding fame and fortune as international soccer stars.

Some have fled political violence in their homeland, others have found it impossible to climb the professional soccer ladder in their local clubs, and many have unrealistic expectations of the opportunities available in South Africa.

Unfortunately for the refugees, South African law prohibits foreign nationals from playing club football unless they have a valid work permit. For many of the immigrants this is impossible. For those who go through the process of getting the right documentation, soccer stardom is still not a given. Football in South Africa is of a high standard and very competitive. Few are chosen to go on to glory.

Some refugees are fortunate enough to be taken on by teams like the Nigerian-owned Super Eaglets. It trains players from all over the continent, hoping to sell them to soccer scouts or clubs. Many soccer lovers move to South Africa after hearing about the team, hoping that they can heighten their chances of being recognised.

With the FIFA World Cup soccer showdown on the horizon, hopeful players look on in the hope that one day, they too will achieve their dream of playing football professionally.

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