Sunday, August 11, 2013

Homeless World Cup 2013: Scotland kick off against Indonesia

Amid the bluster of the opening stages of the new season, it's easy to ignore an international tournament taking place in Poland.

A tournament where Scotland can create history by becoming the first team to lift the trophy three teams.

Homeless World Cup 2013 on Scottish Football Blog
The Homeless World Cup kicks off in Poznan today offering Scotland a rare shot at global glory and, far more importantly, changing lives while bringing attention to the worldwide scourge of homelessness and poverty.

In a unique street football arena next to Lake Malto, 64 teams of men and women from 50 countries will come together to celebrate the power of football and the work of the Homeless World Cup Foundation.

In 2012 the Homeless World Cup and its network of 70 national partners engaged with over 100,000 homeless people - 70% of them changed their lives in a significant way.

That can include beating addictions, finding work, securing housing, entering education or training, becoming social entrepreneurs or, in some cases, becoming football players or coaches.

Thanks to football. Much derided, much fretted over but still an incredibly powerful force for good.

There's still football to be played in Poznan though - 2013 is the eleventh Homeless World Cup tournament.

And Scotland's record is good: winners in Denmark in 2007 and France in 2011 and fourth in 2004, at home in 2005 and in 2008.

Homeless World Cup coverage on Scottish Football Blog

2013 sees in Group M with Argentina, India, Indonesia and Wales. At 17 in the pre tournament ranking we're a place behind Argentina while Indonesia's are ranked seventh after their thrilling fourth place in Mexico last year.

And we'll get the chance to test ourselves against Indonesia straight away - we play them in our first game this afternoon.

Ally Dawson, formerly of Rangers and Scotland, will once again manage Scotland's Homeless World Cup team:

"Scotland teams have always performed well in past Homeless World cup tournaments and we’re hoping that will continue this year too.

"We’ve won it twice in the last six years and the players are absolutely determined to try and become the first nation to win it for the third time."

But the eight players selected for Poland represent something much bigger at home: organisers Street Soccer Scotland now work with over 5000 socially disadvantaged people every year.

Glory next Sunday would be nice. But it's the work the Homeless World Cup and its partners do throughout the year that sets up the biggest victories for the players in Poland and many thousands others.

The Scotland team for 2013:

  • Aaron Shaw from Inverness
  • Thomas Park from Glasgow
  • David Clark from Glasgow
  • Thomas Kerr from Glasgow
  • Alexander Robertson from Glasgow
  • John Moore from Edinburgh
  • John Brash from Edinburgh
  • Declan Quinn from Edinburgh

Watch all the Homeless World Cup games live on the tournament website

Scotland v Indonesia kicks off around 1.45 pm UK time this afternoon.