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Winners But No Losers

Cheered on from early morning until late afternoon by an enthusiastic crowd in the picturesque setting, the street football produced hundreds of goals to enthral excited fans huddled around portable plastic boundary boards fitted together like Lego bricks. Booming background music added to the carnival atmosphere as locals watched 12 teams compete in the popular end-to-end contest. And after topping their respective tables, Sarajevo’s OFFS, a predominantly Muslim team, came from behind to defeat home side Sutjeska 1 2-1 0 in a breathtaking final.
“I really think the tournament has made a difference,” adds Jelena. “We are planning to get the teams together on a regular basis. And who knows, maybe other cultural activities will come from it.”
Zoran is also looking ahead. “I want to see street football spread to other cities,” says the resident of Serbia’s capital. “We want to arrange a league in Belgrade called ‘Kids from the Hood’ with the support of the British Council and the city government.”
Foca’s example could well kick off a series of competitions throughout the Balkans. Already other clubs have proposed hosting return tournaments as a sign of friendship. There may still be border controls but lines of communication are getting stronger in the lands of the former Yugoslavia.