A six-member Cambodian national team accompanied by Happy Football Cambodia Australia head coach Jimmy Campbell will leave Phnom Penh today for the Polish city of Poznan to take part in the 11th edition of the annual Homeless Football World Cup from August 10-18.
This unique, socially pioneering enterprise, which aims to beat homelessness in the world through football, has attracted 64 teams – 48 in the men’s section and several new teams among the 16 in the women’s event. Northern Ireland will be fielding a mixed team for the first time.
Poznan, one of the host cities of UEFA Euro 2012, will stage the event at Lake Malta, a popular tourist attraction offering a combination of scenic beauty and professional sports facilities.
“HFCA is proud to be taking a Cambodian Team for the sixth consecutive year starting from Melbourne in 2008,” coach Campbell told the Post yesterday.
“This year’s team is once again relatively inexperienced and will, once again, be one of the youngest teams competing. We are looking forward to being involved in this prestigious worldwide event.”
Local sponsors for this Poznan expedition are mobile phone operators Smart, while two foreign supporters are Flight Centre (Australia) and GFSS Constructions (Canada).
“Our sponsors throughout the year have shown tremendous support and we have to thank Smart for their backing once again,” Camp-bell added.
The six players aged 17 to 20 representing Cambodia are goalkeeper Chhun Bunlao, defenders Lek Chhunmalivy and Nuth Daneth, midfielders Huon Neasa and Chey Makara and striker Prum Chhunly.
While HFCA has been managing and supporting Cambodian national teams for the past six years, it has also provided employment opportunities to work as coaches for nine former players.
Homeless World Cup matches are played on a small 22 metre by 16 metre pitch with walls on each side. The games, involving four players per team including the goalkeeper, are played over two halves of seven minutes each. Substitutions are allowed as often as the manager wants.
Previous host cities of the Homeless World Cup include Graz, Austria (2003), Gothenburg, Sweden (2004), Edinburgh, Scotland (2005), Copenhagen, Denmark (2006), Cape Town, South Africa (2007), Melbourne, Australia (2008), Milan, Italy (2009), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2010), Paris, France (2011), and Mexico City, Mexico (2012).