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Last Updated: Monday, 25 July, 2005, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
Players help themselves in Edinburgh
James Clarke

England captain Fernand Bass and vice-captain Craig Phillips. Photo by Jason Lock

Having a role to play within "The Homeless World Cup" (a street soccer event involving homeless people from 27 countries) may not sound interesting or even mean anything to some people at all.

But individuals participating will never want to forget all the positive memorable stories.

When given the opportunity to represent your country it gives you the greatest satisfaction making you feel proud.

Here is what the England captain Fernand Bass had to say:

How old are you?
19

What happened at the trials?
I was given the oppurunity to go for trials at Manchester United and the final selection process for the squad also took place within the huge Old Trafford stadium.

Support for the teams and players are coming in from football personalities and well known people like Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of United, who said:'It's the third year that Manchester United has worked with the Big Issue in the North on the Homless World Cup project and we are happy to be involved again.

'The previous years' events have shown that football is a powerful tool in changing people's lives, and it's great that we can play a part in that.'

Did you change your eating habits?
No, had to just keep on eating and looking after myself in the same appropriate manner.

How did you hear about the 'Homeless World Cup'?
I was living at rented accommodation in 'The Heanton Foyer' in Wolverhampton and the manager approached me.

He had heard of the tournament and already knew how keen I was on football so he arranged with the organisers for me to participate.

What were your feelings on hearing news of the 'Homeless World Cup'?
I was always thinking positively and would never let an opportunity like this go and from this day on I will always be enjoying myself.

What are the rest of the squad like?
Really fun lads and after working together, we all became friends.

Did you already know any of the players before entering the trials for the England squad?
Yes. I have played alongside Romeo Dechamp Gullian and Maybin Malawo before so being surrounded on and off the pitch by friends makes me feel alive.

What did you learn from the first training session?
I have always understood the game of football but now I have been able to enhance my skills and develop my techniques.

Have you learnt new ways of interacting?
Meeting new people has definitely made my confidence levels soar.

Has it helped you as an individual being trained by Louie, your coach who also works with the Manchester United squad?

Representing my country means a lot to me and it has helped set goals for my life.
Fernand Bass

He is a tremendous help especially adding new ideas to the way we play as a team.

The team is working hard every day trying out other set peices to ensure other squads cannot break our game.

What excites you daily when playing in The Homless World Cup?
Being simply surrounded always by fans and ordinary local people.

Even if the spectators throw negative support at you it's positive in my eyes as you know people are watching.

The other squad members think positively as we know we're representing our country.

How do you feel playing alongside full grown adults?
I just take the game as it comes and make sure I enjoy every minute successfully.

What was your situation when you got involved with the Homeless World Cup and before you moved into the Foyer?
My life wasn't really working between myself and my stepfather so I asked my mum for advice on how to get my own place.

I managed to move to 'Badger Court' then onto Heanton Foyer.

The England team: back row: Paul Roznowski, Gary Lee Whiteside, Craig Phillips, Ben Colvin. Front row: Romeo Dechamp Gullain, Fernand Bass, Terry Barlow, Maybin Malawo. Photo by Jason Lock
The England team suffered a controversial exit to Ukraine

Did the Foyer Federation help you?
They helped me take care of myself with cooking, help with my football trials at West Brom, Stafford Rangers and Telford - they helped me reach semi-pro.

Did you realise how much help was available from the Foyer?
I didn't realise how much advice they could offer with managing money and job searching.

How will the Homeless World Cup change your life?
Representing my country means a lot to me and it has helped set goals for my life.

Now I feel proud of myself and I'm grateful just being here in Edinburgh.

If you hadn't been involved with the Homeless World Cup, would you get involved in other schemes?
Yes, definitely.

How does it feel representing your country as a captain?
It feels great. I always wanted to be a captain at my college academy.

My last game was against Leicester, I asked my captain if I could take that role but I wasn't given the chance.

Now I'm overwhelmed that I've achieved my goal.

From living at the Foyer, do you think you've grown as a person?
Yes, I can take care of myself now and have some amazing experiences from living at the Foyer.





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