Team Cambodia win the hearts and minds of Santiago public. With our very limited budget, three players and a 36 hour journey from Cambodia to Chile ahead of us we wondered if it really was worth all the effort and stress. Maybe we should take a year off and recharge the batteries. All doubts about whether it was a good idea to take part in the annual Homeless World Cup were gone as soon as the three players arrived in Santiago and were so happy to be here that myself and Vibol knew we made the right decision.
The Soul of a Warrior
Whilst all the team were stars in their own right and it doesn't seem fair to single out one above the other its very hard to explain what a huge impact Langeng had on every single person he met or who had the pleasure of seeing him play. Officially the smallest player in the tournament at 4 foot 5 inches he has the heart of a giant and the soul of a warrior. He scored 23 goals in 13 games and was our leader on the pitch. Off the pitch he had a smile that could warm the coldest of hearts. Everyone wanted a picture with him and he was very accommodating to all the requests. A top footballer and more importantly a great young man. Langeng grew up on the dumps of Phnom Penh and to see where he is now, is a great credit to our partner Cambodian Children's Fund.
He scored 23 goals in 13 games and was our leader on the pitch. Off the pitch he had a smile that could warm the coldest of hearts
Bora also did an amazing job representing the team and had a friendly word for everyone. His English was amazing and it was cool to see him talking to all these people from around the world and taking all the attention in his stride. He did some interviews with the local media and is a very cool customer.
Bora came to us via our partnership with Cambodian Kids Foundation. When asked about his time in Chile Bora said the following "Being part of the Homeless World Cup was one of the best experiences of my life. When I return to Cambodia I am going to tell everyone at Cambodia Kids Foundation and HFCA about the Homeless World Cup and Chile. I am so proud to play for Cambodia"
I will never forget the Homeless World Cup. It was amazing to go overseas and meet people from all over the world
Phanna was the shy one in the group and at first was struggled with the football side of it but game by game he was improving and he gave his all for his country. Mid way through the tournament he scored his first goal and it was fantastic to see the massive smile on his face with his arm raised to celebrate. From our partner Happy School which is managed by Australians for Cambodian Education Phanna is a credit to everyone at the school for his respectable and humble attitude. "I will never forget the Homeless World Cup. It was the amazing to go overseas and meet people from all over the world. I will tell my children and grandchildren about this experience when I am an old man" said Phanna about his time in Chile.
So many people and organisations to thank. SMART mobile and Collingwood Rotary club were great in their support as per usual. Thanks to Rita Dipietro, Kevin Milstein, Silvia and Erez Shalev, Lynn Ciurlionis and everyone else who made donations to essential costs. Massive thank you to Camila Machado for managing our Pozible campaign and for everyone who donated to it. Great effort by Jimmy and Vibol in organising the annual Charity Cup in Phnom Penh. Frankie and Liam thanks for the ALF BBQ. Special mention to Mik La Vage, Jon Hammond, John Grogan, Shanti Sattler, Elisa Gatti, Bill Skermer, Tammy Schlitz and Nic Bakker for all your behind the scenes work.
Finally a massive thanks to all our supporters around the world.