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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Our writers reflect
Italy beat Poland 3-2 in the final
Italy celebrate HWC success

The Homeless World Cup reached its climax on the 24 July when Italy beat Poland 3-2 in a thrilling final.

BBC Sport received regular match reports thanks to a group of aspiring young journalists from the Foyer Federation.

In this piece, three of those writers tell how they got involved and recount some of their tournament experiences.

Adam Hassan

The City of Edinburgh made a fantastic venue for the Homeless World Cup 2005. Even though it was selected only six months before as an emergency host, the tournament was a great success and gave me memories I will never forget.

After arriving from Manchester, I met my colleagues, James Clarke and Sean McCann from Portsmouth and Aaron Wall from London, for the first time. We walked to our apartment, and were stunned by the quality and beauty of the rooms.

Later we walked around the city, taken in by the medieval features and archaic landscape. Accompanied by our mentor and fiancee, we found a small traditional Scottish pub. The environment was so friendly with a very mellow mood, and there was a live folk band - it was a very enjoyable first night.

We were introduced to the teams at the qualifying rounds the next day, giving each country the opportunity to make its mark in the HWC. Our group was assigned to follow a team for their two matches for the day, mine being Holland. It was slightly difficult adjusting to writing a match report for such a fast-paced game, but this became easier throughout the week.

I was very pleased to see England win their two games in the opening stages - it sent an upliftng feeling through our group for the rest of the day.

My week in Edinburgh has been an amazing and unforgettable experience
Adam Hassan

The third day saw the final preliminary games played and the opening ceremony take place, this being the highlight of the day. It was a loud and vibrant occasion, where all the competing nations marched from St Giles Church on the royal mile, down to the newly-built stadium.

We walked along with the England squad, which was a great experience. We embraced the chanting and the passion that eminated from every team member.

The next few days saw all twenty-seven countries playing against each other, in a competitive but also enjoyable fashion. We were joined by two people from the Foyer Federation who, like our previous mentors, provide great support and assistance in completing our work.

It was a disappointment to see England handed a clear injustice after incorrect scoring against the Ukraine. This meant they were unable to compete for the HWC, but still had the chance to win the Big Issue Trophy.

We now directed our cheers towards the Scottish squad, who unfortunately lost to HWC winners Italy in the semi-finals. As each day went by, the crowd at Princess Street Gardens stadium, grew, with more and more people coming to watch.

People queued outside the stadium in the morning, just to gain a seat. This gave the impression, the HWC 2005 had achieved its objective of raising awareness of poverty and homelessness.

Every team brought their appealing themes and distinctive flares; Namibia (one of only three African countries to take part) stunned the crowd with one petite player in particular, who managed to find his way around his opponents with skill and almost certainly score. Their coach would pick up the microphone just before they were to play, and start singing and doing what looks to be an African dance. It sent the crowd wild with everyone standing up to join in.

The Brazilians' status may not have lived up to the national squad's ability, but their effort was outstanding. They also had the oldest player of the tournament; being seventy didn't diminish his fitness or football skills in any way.

My week in Edinburgh has been an amazing and unforgettable experience, which I will always look back at in good light. It was good to spend time with people who are in my position (living in a foyer); we all had a certain understanding because of this. It was great working and going out with these people, who I wish to stay friends with and hopefully see again.

From taking part in this project I've made new connections, with people from Edinburgh to Nigeria. I just want to say thank you to everyone who took part and made this possible, especially the people who I spent most of my time with; Sean, James, Aaron, Jo, Dean, Naomi, Sophie, and Tristan and his film crew.

Thank you Edinburgh for for staging an extraordinary Homeless World Cup 2005. I'll being seeing you in South Africa next year!

James Clarke

I was approached about a month ago and asked if I would take the opportunity of getting involved in going on a trip to Edinburgh, representing the BBC and the Foyer Federation.

I had been involved in a previous project, Tackling Skills, which I had great fun being involved with and which taught me new skills in editing and reporting. From being a part of Tackling Skills, I was asked to be a part of the Homeless World Cup.

I was told that if I wrote 10 questions to ask a participant involved in the Homeless World Cup, I could be in with a chance to ask questions in person, for a once in a lifetime experience.

The deadline I was given along with other Foyer residents was a week to think up and prepare my questions. Unfortunately, during this period, my life took a dramatic change, with family troubles along with my being made redundant.

Nevertheless, the night before the deadline I actually put pen to paper at 1am, I realised how important getting involved in something different could reshape my personality and life. I spent hours deciding.

While I waited for feedback on the results, I received my questions back and was enthusiastically assured I was in with a good chance, adding much needed encouragement.

I received confirmation explaining the fabulous news of how I'd be travelling to Scotland for seven days, where I'd be reporting and representing the BBC and Foyer Federation at the Homeless World Cup.

I was ecstatic, knowing that there would be someone from the same Portsmouth Foyer where I live going.

Travelling should have taken approximately nine hours, but due to delays we arrived late by two hours. I bonded positively with Portsmouth Foyer resident Sean McCann incredibly well, and was positively surprised to see Aaron Wall, an old pal from the Tackling Skills project.

On arrival, I was introduced to a new face, Adam Hassan, who was a character in himself and who, along with Aaron and Sean made my stay in Edinburgh a great success.

I felt honoured, proud and thankful for being given this wonderful opportunity
James Clarke
I learnt a lot about myself living with others with similar views from people with very similar backgrounds taught me how I can change and become a better person.

We had been staying in a plush building which took everyone's breath away. I felt honoured, proud and thankful for being given this wonderful opportunity.

Knowing that I was representing organisations like the BBC and Foyer Federation gave me the belief to push my aims higher and dreams further.

The whole experience gave me the strength I needed when operating with my fellow peers and also when using previous skills in good practice.

Interviewing key people like the co-founders of the HWC really inspired me, when learning about how people are in worse conditions in the world than me.

I saw a wider perspective of how people's voices and hard work can make a huge difference. When tackling a subject like homelessness it's hard to teach others the importance of attending the Homeless World Cup.

I learnt how a game of football has helped me as a person, along with 32 other countries including around 250 players.

Sean McCann

This has been the most memorable experience I have ever had, I would recommend it to anyone who had the chance to do something like this. It's not just changed my view on the homeless people of the world, it's changed my entire life.

I've gone from a shy, quiet, lazy kid to a man who's not afraid to voice an opinion and speak his mind.

I've met so many wonderful people, some of whom I would never have approached. Some people who could barely understand me, and I could barely understand them but through the universal language of football we all managed to get along.

A Scottish supporter at the HWC
The tournament was a big hit with the fans

World leaders could take a leaf out of Mel Young's book - the sooner they realise, the sooner the world will be a happier, safer place.

I'm sad now I'm leaving, I wish it would never end.

But as long as there's poverty there will always be homeless people, as long as there is homeless people there will always be a World Cup, and as long as there's a World Cup there is always work to be done and I will work my fingers to the bone.

So when you're lying in your nice warm bed, thinking of how your life went wrong, take a second to think of the people who can't do anything to change their way of life. Then you will realise, the same as I did, that your life isn't half as bad as it could be.

All my thanks and best wishes for all those involved and lets all work together to make a dream reality.

Aaron Wall

Well, what can I say about the week?

First of all , if it wasn't for the BBC and the Foyer Federation I wouldn't have been on this work experience week, so I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much you've all been great and supportive with what I'm doing.

It was a nightmare journey coming down here because we were two hours late thanks to the train - the worst train journey I've ever had.

The first day was a busy one for me because I didn't know what to expect when I went to pick up my press pass and info pack.

When I did I felt really important as I knew I was going to be match reporting for the BBC and it was an honour to be able to report on the Homeless world Cup.

The whole week was superb, the staff, press and my fellow reporters have all been great with helping me to develop my journalism skills.

Tournament organiser Mel Young
Event co-founder Mel Young shows off the trophy
I've also made some great friends over this past week and I hope to keep in contact with all of them in the future to see how they're progressing with their journalism aspirations.

The match reporting was really hard because the games were only seven minutes long and were played at such a fast pace with end to end stuff all the time.

There could be three goals in 30 seconds, that's how fast the game was and if you missed a goal it made the match reporting so much harder because you had to ask someone who scored and for what time.

I think the 2006 Homeless World Cup will be even more of a success in Cape Town if more teams are able to take part.

I hope to continue match reporting for a local paper or for a radio station when I get back.

Hopefully I'm going to start a media course in September which could lead me to reporting on matches in the future for the BBC or another company.

If it wasn't for Tackling Skills I would never have been in the position I am today, so I would like to thank the Foyer Federation and the BBC for giving me the opportunity to take part.

Links to more Tackling Skills stories


Youngsters Tackling Skills with BBC Sport
02 Aug 05 |  Tackling Skills

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