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Sonny Yau, who is also the team social worker, says the Homeless World Cup is about more than football. “We want them to get something from this game. Arousing their interest in football is not the main aim.

Rather, we want them to build up their confidence and forget about the past,” he says.“Moreover, we make them feel like they’re at home. When they encounter hardships, they know how to ask for help and support.”
Vice-chairman Ho says he has noticed a change in Wahid. He believes that taking part in the tournament and playing so well has boosted Wahid’s self-esteem. It has given him an achievement he can be proud of.

“All the players in the tournament were given participants’ medals. Wahid kept his on all the way home, on the flight and after he got off the plane,” says Ho.

Wahid agrees he has gained a lot. He has developed a sense of responsibility and learned to control his temper. . “For instance, when it is busy at work, I will get frustrated. People might complain that I am too slow and ask me to be quicker. I will just take it, I don’t get into fights.”

From Brazil, he has taken home the kernel of a dream. He tells Varsity that after watching him score four goals against Argentina, a member of the England side’s coaching staff called him over.

“He said I played really well and that he wanted to see my passport to see if he could help me go to England to play football.”

Nothing has come of the encounter so far. And for now, Wahid is content to work hard and save money. He is currently working as a waiter at a restaurant on The Peak. He gets on well with his manager there who has been very supportive of his football playing.

Like many young men his age, he likes cars and girls. He hopes to pass his driving test, buy a car and find a girlfriend. On the home front, he is supporting his family by contributing 70 per cent of his salary.

Eventually, Wahid says he wants to qualify as a football coach. “I love playing football. It makes me very happy. How much money I would make is not so important as long as I can make enough to live.” But for now, his priority is to save money so his family can live better.

For the past three months, he has also severed his links with the old gang associates, “I haven’t been in contact .I don’t take their calls. I never, ever want to go back,” he says of his previous life.

Editor: Winnie Tse