The Cambodian Homeless Football team are preparing for a busy 2019 with Happy Football Cambodia Australia reporting the teams focus is squarely on the 2019 Homeless World Cup which this year will be hosted in Wales in August.
The players recently went to visit the world famous temples in Siem Reap as a team building exercise with four of the eight players making their first visit to Angkor Wat.
‘’I had heard about Angkor Wat and seen pictures before but I could not believe how amazing it was. Seeing what my ancestors did makes me so proud to be Khmer. I can’t wait to go to the UK and represent Cambodia,’’ said Phanna Phor, Cambodian team player.
This trip was supported by Scott Neeson and Cambodian Children’s Fund.
In a shock announcement last October, HFCA announced the withdrawal of the Cambodian team from the 2018 Homeless World Cup football tournament in Mexico due to difficulty obtaining visas.
Previously, Cambodia had been represented in the competition for the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless efforts of HFCA, which coordinated the team’s appearances at the event.
The Homeless World Cup has been running every year since 2003, when only 18 teams took part.
Participating in the Homeless World Cup has helped dozens of young Cambodians turn their lives around in the last decade, with some even going on to play professional football.
Among the programmes alumni, Monira Men represented Cambodia at the 2009 Homeless World Cup in Milan, Italy. He has since gone on to play professional football in Cambodia.
HFCA was formed in 2005 by Paraic Grogan, with the purpose of working with disadvantaged youth in Cambodia through the medium of football.
It funds football programs in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and endeavours to bring a team to the annual Homeless World Cup.