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Image courtesy of Jo Griffin

This Tanzanian Girls' Football Team Came Second in Moscow but Feel Triumphant

Meet the highflying Tanzanian girls' football team, stars of this week's Street Child World Cup.

With a huge smile and surrounded by some of her new friends from 20 different countries at the Sapsan Arena in Moscow, Asteria Robert, the 14-year-old captain of the Tanzanian girls' football team, takes in the atmosphere following the final of the Street Child World Cup.

"When we left we couldn't believe we could reach this level and we're so glad we got this far in the tournament," says Asteria, after leading her team on to the podium to receive medals and a trophy for coming in second place.

The Street Child World Cup is a football tournament for children all over the world who have experienced homelessness or are considered at risk of living on the streets. It takes place before the FIFA World Cup.

After a high-octane performance with many chances at goal, the Tanzanian girls were defeated 1-0 by a team from Rio de Janeiro at the stadium—a stone's throw from Lokomotiv, home of the newly-crowned Russian Premier League champions. Some of the girls slumped on the floor at the final whistle but soon gathered themselves to show sportsmanship and congratulate the winners from Brazil

The final game was live-streamed by Goal and seen by more than 130,000 people. In the stadium the team were cheered on by teenagers from across the world, banging drums and waving the Tanzanian flag.


"Day by day, the games have been hard—from the first to the last. We've had to work really hard," says Asteria.

The girls aged 14-17 from Mwanza have become as well-known for their victory shouts of "Kilimanjaro" and "Zanzibar" as for their skills on the ball.

The girls came second in a competition of teams from Bolivia, Brazil, England, Kazakhstan, India, Mauritius, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia and the United States. In the boys' competition, teams from Burundi and Kenya have played teams from Belarus, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. Burundi made it to the semi-final, but were eventually defeated by Pakistan.

Along with more than 200 teenagers from across the world, the girls were also given the opportunity to explore Moscow, including the Kremlin and Red Square, at the 10-day event for young people at risk of the streets. And they have taken part in a cultural festival at venues across the city.

"This has been a great opportunity because apart from the football we have been able to build relationships with children from other countries, exchange ideas and share culture," says Asteria.

The team has been training hard for months with the TSC Sports Academy, which is run by the Cheka Sana Foundation, and they faced stiff competition to qualify.

"We value ourselves, we know who are and we know our worth, this which enables us to do anything we set our minds to."

Before the semi-final the girls said that winning the tournament would be extra sweet because boys from Tanzania won the last Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, in 2014, beating hosts Brazil along the way.

"In Tanzania, many people think girls and women cannot achieve the same as boys and men, and also people will see we can achieve anything and that we are just as capable as boys, just as capable of success. So, we want to bring respect to the country, it will be women who bring respect to the country," says Asteria's teammate Paulina Christopher.

"We can do everything on the same level as boys. If girls are not allowed to participate in sports, it's not right, we are human beings, and we are supposed to be happy and do anything the makes us happy. we need to access all our rights."

In addition to playing, the girls said they enjoyed watching the other teams perform dances and songs during the nightly cultural showcase, known as "the late show." The girls performed a traditional dance. The event ends on Thursday, with a general assembly on children's rights in the heart of Moscow.

"I love the late show, there is so much I have learned from different countries," said Asteria. "The performance I liked best has been from India. The way they dressed, their dancing, the drums, it was amazing."

As well as playing in the girls' final, the team has been cheering on Pakistan, who were defeated on penalties to Uzbekistan in the boys' tournament. "[Pakistan] are very well behaved and are different from other boys, they are very respectful," says Paulina.

What's the secret of their success? "We value ourselves, we know who are and we know our worth, this which enables us to do anything we set our minds to. We have a good relationship with each other both on and off the pitch," says another team member, Zulfa John.

Another teammate Merabu James ads: "The secret to our success is that we understand each other and if someone is not doing well, we talk kindly to her, to help her get back on track."

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(From left to right) Stéphane Bak and Marc Zinga in 'The Mercy of the Jungle.' Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda

We catch up with the actor after the film made its North American premiere at TIFF.

When actor Stéphane Bak first got the script for The Mercy of the Jungle (La Miséricorde de la Jungle), he knew there was one person he had to consult: his father. "My dad did school me about this," he says. While Bak was born and raised in France, his parents had emigrated from what was then Zaire in the 1980s—before the events of the movie, and not exactly in the same area, but close enough to be able to pass on firsthand knowledge of the simmering ethnic tensions that underpin the action.

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Brazil Has Made Yoruba an Official Language

The language will also be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum in the country, says the Minister of Culture.

Yoruba history and culture has an undeniably strong presence in Brazilian society, due of course, to the Transatlantic slave trade which brought millions of enslaved West Africans to the Americas. Despite the inhumanity they faced, many managed to keep their ancestral culture and traditions alive.

Centuries have passed, and Yoruba influences still continue to thrive in various regions of the country, as many Brazilians maintain a strong relationship with the language and religion. Its influence can be seen through the music, food and spiritual practices of various communities. Last month the Ooni of Ife—the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people—visited the country, where he was met by crowds of Black Brazilians who turned up to pay their respects.

This connection will likely remain strong for future generations, as the language has now become an official foreign language in the country.

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Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão, has said that the language will now be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum, reports the Nigerian Voice.

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Get into Telefunksoul and Felipe Pomar's Ré_Con Ba$$ EP.

Brazilian producers Felipe Pomar (of TrapFunk & Alivio) and Telefunksoul come through with a dizzyingly energetic EP in the form of Ré_Con Ba$$.

Telefunksoul, who happens to be one of the main promoters of Bahia Bass music, came up with the concept of exploring the rhythms coming out of Recôncavo of Bahia and showing how they can fit into bass music.

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