Sir Alex Ferguson has given Scotland’s Homeless World Cup sides his backing as they kick-off the 2017 tournament today.
Teams from more than 50 nations have descended on Rådhusplassen in the Norwegian capital for the week-long tournament, which will see over 500 players take to the pitch.
Having met the teams I know they are determined to do their best for themselves and for Scotland
And Sir Alex – who managed Scotland at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico after the death of Jock Stein – insists that each and every player is an ‘inspiration’ after his rousing team talk.
The former Manchester United boss said: “All of the players selected for Scotland’s Homeless World Cup teams should be very proud.
“It is a tremendous personal achievement to be selected to play and every one of the players is also inspiring many more around them, including their fellow players who attend the Street Soccer Scotland programme throughout the year.
“Having met them I know they are determined to do their best for themselves and for Scotland.”
Scotland’s men’s side will have to topple Portugal, Egypt, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Greece in Stage 1 of the competition while the women’s squad will face-off against India, USA, Kenya, Burkina Faso and Northern Ireland in Oslo.
— StreetSoccerScotland (@streetsoccerSCO) August 28, 2017
And David Duke, the chief executive of Street Soccer Scotland who founded the organisation as well as managing the team to victory in 2007, claims that Sir Alex’s words are a boost – as the Scotland players avoided the great man’s dreaded hairdryer.
Getting a team talk from Sir Alex, one of the greatest football managers in history, has made the whole experience even better.
It is hoped that Scotland can repeat their success at the Homeless World Cup – winning the title as recently as 2011 – while players will still receive plenty of support off the pitch once the final whistle blows.
Duke, who also played at the 2004 tournament, said: “Street Soccer Scotland works with thousands of socially disadvantaged adults and young people across Scotland throughout the year with the Homeless World Cup being a highlight.
“Representing Scotland makes every one of our players very proud has a very positive influence on the lives of every player.
“Getting a team talk from Sir Alex, one of the greatest football managers in history, has made the whole experience even better.”
Read more about the Homeless World Cup in this week’s Big Issue with player profiles and inspirational stories of how our vendors swapped their pitches for a pitch of another kind.