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Homeless kids set for World Cup campaign

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The Cambodian team, management and coaching staff bound for the 2011 Homeless World Cup in Paris pose for a photo during a press conference at the FCC yesterday. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun

Cambodia’s Homeless World Cup team are better prepared mentally and physically than in three previous attempts, according to head coach Jimmy Campbell. The squad, which is backed by Phnom-Penh based charity organisation Happy Football Cambodia Australia, will fly out to Paris today for the 9th Homeless World Cup, which will play at the at famous Champ de Mars park from August 21 to 28.

“HFCA has been a driving force behind the Homeless World Cup experience for Cambodia, and this year our preparations have been much better. The boys are in excellent shape and spirits,” Campbell, who has been training the team for the past three months, told The Post yesterday.

“As always, it is a life changing experience where the power of football comes into play as an agent of social change. We at the HFCA would like to give Cambodian boys this unique opportunity to change their lives for the better and   build their self esteem,” Paraic Grogan, one of the founders of HFCA, said during a news conference at the FCC yesterday.

Introducing the eight-member Cambodian team to the media, Grogan noted that the Homeless World Cup made huge impacts on the players who had taken part in them. 

“Over 70 per cent of the players are better off from this experience. Nine of the players who took part in Melbourne [in 2008], Milan [in 2009] and Rio de Janiero [in 2010] are now employed by the HFCA as coaches. A couple of players have gone on to join professional football ranks,” Grogan added.

Mobile phone operator Smart Mobile has been named as main sponsors of the side, with additional support coming from Banzai Events Cambodia and Phnom Penh’s Paddy Rice Irish sports bar.

“Smart is proud to be involved with the Homeless World Cup team. It is our corporate commitment to support worthy social causes through the medium of sports,” Kirill Mankovsky, Chief Marketing Officer of Smart Mobile, told The Post yesterday.

Cambodia’s 2011 Homeless World Cup team list (with ages): Hem Sreng (17), Nhel Chandoeum (20), Chan Brospich (16), Yan Pheara (17), Kim Van Da (21), Rin Rouen (24), Hem Neat (19), Noun Oudom (19)

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