Dragan played for his country: Bosnia & Herzegovina at the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup.
He tells his story here:
"I was born and raised in Banjaluka, Bosnia & Herzegovina. I was an addict for several years but thanks to my community, I managed to leave that world of evil and successfully resocialize in society. I managed to enter into BH homeless football team which is organised by International Forum of Solidarity – EMMAUS (IFS).
I, as well as other guys from all around Bosnia and Herzegovina, formed this new homeless football team. It was the second time Bosnia & Herzegovina took part in the Homeless World Cup. Just like me, all the other guys were affected by difficulties and troubles in their lives. We started to train and got to know each other from month to month and new friendships emerged. We travelled from one tournament to the other and played football, bringing excellent results: 2nd place at the European Homeless Cup in Munich, last June, and 6th place at the Homeless world cup in Poznan also accomplishing an individual award for the best goalkeeper at the tournament in Poland.
However, the sports results are not what matters because the social aspect of the project is far more important. Me, as a player, and I am deeply convinced that my colleagues share the same opinion, felt human again through football. I was no longer enslaved by my addiction and past life but I truly felt like a person again, part of something bigger. When you say you’re a former addict, people don’t trust you and you can’t find work, because people don’t believe you’re clean. Recovering from addiction was hard enough but fighting prejudice was much more difficult. Football has helped me doing that.
By choosing football, I hope I’m sending a clear message to society about the kind of person I am now and what my priorities are.
I can only recommend to all people who have any kind of social, material, existential or health issues not to despair and not to give up. Each battle has its end. Ultimately, the darkness exists only to bring light again.
The Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup took place from August 11th to 18th at Lake Malta, Poznan in Poland and it was a real success!
Teams from around the world represented their countries with pride - including Chile, the 2012 World Champions, Namibia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France or new comers Northern Ireland.
After a week of great football, Brazil for the men and Mexico for the women won.
You can get a feel of what the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup was like here.
Players are now back home, where they have shared their experience in Poland, with their communities, media, etc
So, what's next?...well, the football continues!
The season has started for most of the Homeless World Cup partners around the world.
The Belgian Homeless Cup, in Belgium, for instance has started with a "Crazy Tunnel Mayhem Football" event that took place in Brussels last month.
The Homeless FA, in England, organised a European get-together with teams from Portugal, the Netherlands, Hungary and many more taking part.
Chile, the future hosts of the Santiago 2014 Homeless World Cup are also organising an exciting competition, from November 8th to November 10th in Santiago. They have invited teams from Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica and the USA will travel to chile to compete in the Copa America!
All these football sessions, tournaments and events are a taste of what is coming next year, in Chile.
The 12th Homeless World Cup annual tournament will take place and it should be an exciting experience for both the players and the public.
Futbol Calle, the Homeless World Cup partner in Chile, wants it to be a real celebration of all the work, done around the world by these partners, who use football to fight homelessness. They also want to raise awereness and invite families to witness the power of the beautiful game!
With only 6 days to go before the official start of the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup we would like to look at the individual stories of the players taking part in the event!
Remember there will be hundreds more players and stories that we will share with you all during the competition.
Admir, Bosnia & Herzegovina:
Admir was born in 1992 when the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina just began. One year later, as a baby, he was left orphan due to an aggressor’s grenade killing his mother. Soon after, he was banished from his home town, Kamenica. He found shelter in a Refugee Centre in Mihatovici near Tuzla where he still currently lives. He survives by digging coal illegally and collecting secondary goods. He didn’t imagine not even in his wildest dreams that one day he would have the honour to defend his country at an international competition.
After spending some time in jail, he was finally freed last winter. However, short after his return, his wife left their home and moved abroad. He then lost their flat and ended up on the streets. He likes the football trainings at they give him something else to focus on.
Rok is a young refugee from Southern Sudan who hails from the Dandenong Community Street Soccer Program in Melbourne. The Dandenong program is popular among refugees and Rok is considered a leader at both the Community Street Soccer Program and within his community.
Glandell, South Africa:
At 43 years old, Glandell is the oldest player in the time and has lived on the streets for the last two months. He has now been clean from drugs for a month.
To follow the tournament online and to read more players' stories, visit our website www.homelessworldcup.org
or follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
The Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup will take place in Poland from August 10th to August 18th but teams taking part are already getting ready. From all around the world, Homeless World Cup's partners are already selecting the players that will represent their countries and training hard. Here are a few examples of what they are doing:
League of Change in Indonesia
The League of Change is a National Street Football Tournament for disadvantaged communities in Indonesia. Each men’s team had to include four players with AIDS and four players from the urban poor, while each women’s team hadto include four players with AIDS or from the urban poor. The remaining players were members of the general public.This year's tournament involved women for the first time bringing all together 13 teams from 9 major provinces in Indonesia. It also served as a selection to pick Indonesian players to play at the 2013 Homeless World Cup in Poznan, Poland and took place between March 10th to 12th.
Team Croatia, already selected and getting ready!
The preparations for the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup have started for Croatia, in the small town of Novi Vinodolski near Rijeka. This year's team is made of players from Rijeka, Zadar, Zagreb and Split. In April, the team will also travel to Doboj, Bosnia & Herzegovina where they will be hosted by Homeless World Cup's partner Emmaus IFS to play in a tournament with the Bosnian, Austrian and Slovenian national teams.
Les Bleus getting ready in France
The Tournoi de la Solidarité (Solidarity Tournament) will be the opportunity to select the players that will take part in the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup. Many organisations from all corners of the country have been invited to send players, men or women, to take part in this one day event. Collectif La Boussole, the Homeless World Cup's official partner in France, is expecting around 300 players at the end of April.
For more information on how the other teams are getting ready, please visit www.homelessworldcup.org or follow us on Facebook here.
Do you want to volunteer at the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup? We are currently looking for a maximum of 15 volunteers to join us during the international tournament in Poznan, Poland.
From August 10th to August 18th, the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup will take place at Lake Malta in Poznan, Poland.
To support the Homeless World Cup team, we are looking for a maximum of 15 dedicated volunteers to help in three different fields: Sports, Media/Social Media and Logistics.
At the Mexico City 2012 Homeless World Cup, International Volunteers were an essential part of the event team and made the tournament a great success. Not only did they help in the various departments but also shared great moments with the players, outside the pitch and during outside activities.
Grecia Garcia, who already volunteered several times at the Homeless World Cup annual tournament, says: “It has been a wonderful experience volunteering for the Homeless World Cup and I can honestly say it has changed my life."
For every volunteer that take part in the programme, we ask him/her to fundraise prior to the event.
All monies raised will go directly to the charitable work of the Homeless World Cup Foundation.
If you think this is an adventure for you, please take a look at the complete guide to the Homeless World Cup International Volunteering Programme here.
We are accepting applications until March 1st only, so get yours in quickly!
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