5 CCF students have been selected to represent Cambodia in the 2020 Homeless World Cup football tournament in Finland

Phanna Phorn is not superstitious but the 19-year-old is hoping it will be third time lucky for him this year.

The CCF student and football player has twice before been selected for the Cambodian national squad for the Homeless World Cup but both times his ambition was thwarted. Now Phanna has been picked again, along with four other CCF students, and is hoping to finally make it on the airplane this time.

“It would be a dream come true,” he says.

In 2018, the whole Cambodian team pulled out of the Homeless World Cup in Mexico over visa issues and last year, Phanna had to cancel his spot in the side for the tournament in Wales due to clashes with his high school exam schedule.

This year, the defender is confident he will make it to Finland in June for the 18th edition of the competition, which brings together teams from around the world to play on a world stage, and is excited it will happen at the third attempt.

“I was sad not to make it before but I am happy to get another chance,” says Phanna, who joined CCF’s programs when he was six and is now at university studying management.

It will be the proudest moment of his life so far to wear the Cambodian jersey and play for his country.

Joining him will be four other CCF students: Dorn Art, 19, Meng Hong Kim, 18, Mar Phor, 18, and the goalkeeper Por Oem, 19.

CCF has five players in the eight-man national squad.

Started in 2003, the Homeless World Cup aims to transform lives through sport and use football to raise awareness of homelessness and social exclusion.

All five CCF players selected for the 2020 Cambodian team, which is put together by Happy Football Cambodia Australia (HFCA), a partner organisation of CCF, have never travelled abroad before or been on an airplane.

“I hope to see something new. It’s a big experience for us going outside Cambodia,” says Dorn Art, 19, who plays in defence.

The CCF boys have a lot to live up to. When asked for their footballing heroes they name Juventus supremo and five-times winner of the Ballon d’Or award for the best footballer in the world Christiano Ronaldo, Brazilian superstar Neymar and French midfield maestro Paul Pogba.

Whatever happens, it will be the biggest adventure of their life to date.

Homeless World Cup 2020

2020 is the 18th edition of the Homeless World Cup
It will take place in Tampere, Finland’s second largest city, from June 28 – July 5
More than 500 players from 45 countries
44 squads in the Men’s competition and 16 in the Women’s competition
Expected 200,000 spectators and millions watching online
Defending Men’s/Mixed champions are Mexico after a 4-1 win over Chile in 2019
Mexico are also the Women’s defending champions beating Peru 6-0 in 2019
Teams of eight players
2 halves, 7 minutes each
On a pitch 22m x 16m

Follow the build-up at www.homelessworldcup.org

Kate Ginn/CCF

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