Homeless Cup players seek asylum

Dec. 9, 2008 at 11:50 PM
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MELBOURNE, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The entire Zimbabwean and Afghan soccer teams competing in the Homeless World Cup in Melbourne have applied for asylum in Australia.

At least one Kenyan player disappeared soon after his arrival in Australia and may be planning to stay illegally, the Melbourne Herald Sun reported.

The competition brings together teams from around the world made up entirely of homeless people. The tournament was won by Afghanistan, which defeated Russia 5-4 in the final.

Both the Afghan and Zimbabwean teams are no longer in the lodgings they were assigned for the tournament. The eight Afghan players and the seven on the Zimbabwean team held visas good for 21 days after entrance.

The Immigration Department confirmed it had received 15 applications for asylum from Homeless Cup players.

The teams come from two of the most troubled countries in the world. Zimbabwe's economy has collapsed and a cholera epidemic has killed hundreds of people in the African nation, while violence has recently increased in Afghanistan.

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