ball game where winner may lose

How is it possible for a football team to score two goals while giving away one, yet lose the game and be quite happy? It is because they are playing Fútbol Callajero, Street Football.

How is it possible for a football team to score two goals while giving away one, yet lose the game and be quite happy? It is because they are playing Fútbol Callajero, Street Football.

Pablo Hewstone Arqueros, the project manager of Chigol, in Santiago, Chile, explains how, in his unique technique of football, winners can be losers, and losers end up victorious.

"The team that gets more goals is awarded three points, with one point awarded to the team with less goals.

"If there's a draw, they are awarded points each, but before the game starts, they decide on the rules. There is also an agreement about certain values, respect, clean play, fairness to female players and solidarity."

Values also score points, just as much as goals. The assessment of these virtues and the points awarded are completed by the teams.

On completion of the game, the two teams, through a mediator, have a discussion to see which team has best complied with the rules.

Once the scores, along with the actual goals, have been calculated, they decide on the winning team. That is why a team that has scored fewer goals can still win a game.

Pablo warms to the idea. "Winning or losing the game isn't the most important issue.

"What is more important is the relationship that's created among the young people, the joy of playing the game and the evaluation in order to get the points," he says.

He smiles, expecting us to affirm that this makes sense. It's difficult to imagine this working in the English Premiership.

Picture Manchester United and Chelsea getting together after the final whistle to decide which team has cursed the most during the match.

Chigol began in 2005, as part of the Streetfootballworld network, supported by Fifa's Football for Hope movement.

Pablo heard about Street Football's work in Argentina. He made contact and was invited to Buenos Aires to see how it worked.

Pablo returned to sunny Santiago filled with street football dreams.

He first gathered people in his community, cleared the public space and created a domain where youngsters could come together and play football.

Pablo believes that for many young people the project took place just in time, since some players might have ended up with the wrong crowd.

The aim of Chigol is to socially transform neighbourhoods and individual lives.

Chigol joined forces with many schools. There are branches in other areas of Santiago, Valparaiso and Puntas Arenas, with the aim to spread the project throughout Chile, to start a national league and to hold international competitions in one of Santiago's main boulevards.

The evidence of Pablo's leadership attributes is demonstrated in the characteristics of strictness and kindness, with tough, stubby features and piercing blue eyes.

Pablo receives assistance from his two helpers, Juan and Jorge, who were both caught up in turmoil before joining Chigol.

Previously alienated from their families, they haunted the drug bust alleys.

"I was involved in the kind of world where I thought I'd either be a criminal for the rest of my life or end up in prison and die.

"I nearly faced death once from a vicious stab wound," admits Jorge.

And he tells us that he used to hang out with Juan, "the skinhead", always drinking, smoking and wrangling. They are now comrades in Chigol, trying to help friends and neighbours out of the rut.

When Jorge feels dispirited and discouraged, Pablo is there to motivate him: "With his way of being half crazy and euphoric, it's contagious." Jorge attends the university and studies computer technology.

He is able to help his community with the Internet. Chigol assisted his mother in setting up a small sewing business, employing teenage single mothers.

She is much happier now, also because her son feels closer.

When we met with Jorge's mother in her humble house, filled with females concentrating on sewing machines, she told us Jorge had been "born again".

Later we met up with Juan, who is now a community coordinator; his serious face seems to reveal his troubled past.

He told us that between the ages of 13 and 16 he was very troublesome. An acquaintance invited him to a Street Football game. At first he was hesitant to go, but was somehow persuaded.

After the match he had a talk with the teacher and sensed at once that discipline was a way forward. Soon after that, he felt that he could help others.