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Homeless World Cup report

September 26 2009
African teams are a threat, but England has a decent chance of salvaging national pride World Cup glory is still possible for England this year as the Homeless World Cup kicks off in Cape Town on 24th September for the fourth year running. Co-ordinated by The Big Issue North, the team are being supported by Manchester United Football in the Community Programme and funded by The Links Foundation. Not to be confused with the Street League World Cup, which took place in July, the Homeless World Cup is an annual event. To qualify, team members have to have been homeless at some point since the end of the last tournament. Street League, on the other hand, is a charitable organisation that takes part in ongoing international tournaments and which "uses the power of sport to transform the lives of individuals from socially excluded and conflicting communities." For the upcoming competition, a final England team of eight players from various parts of the country has been selected to travel to South Africa to compete against more than 40 teams from around the world in the hope of winning the Homeless World Cup and salvaging English football pride. Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown from Manchester United popped along to a final training session to lend their support and give the team some final tips. England captain Paul Smith said: "It was great to meet Rio and Wes today. It's really helped the lads feel that they are part of something big. The training has really prepared the team well for the tournament in South Africa. We're going to do our very best to bring the trophy home." A member of the team support staff, Steve McLucky, thinks England has a pretty good chance. "At the recent Home Nations Tournament they stormed their way to victory, scoring 47 goals and conceding just five, in seven games." The biggest threat comes from the African teams who all put in fine performances at the Street Soccer World Cup, the title eventually going to Kenya. Victory over Portugal would be enough for The Pavement, and we'll cover it next issue.