Italy Coaches To Train Local Boys and Girls

Youth football coaches from the reigning Italian premiership champions Inter Milan were to arrive in Cambodia today ahead of a four-day training clinic for disadvantaged youth, eight of whom will represent Cambodia next month at the annual Homeless World Cup in Australia, organizers said this week.

Fabrizio Piccareta and Gabriele Raspelli, two coaches from Inter Campus, the three-time UEFA Cup winners’ global youth training academy, will offer a free clinic to 60 Cambodian boys and girls starting Monday at the Northbridge Inter­national School, according to Paraic Grogan, founder of the Australian charity Happy Football Cambodia Australia.

Inter Campus has 200 football trainers working with disadvantaged children in 20 countries worldwide and was the subject of the 2008 film documentary Petites historias das crianças.

Grogan, an Irish social worker who is personally financing the coaching duo’s visit, said Friday that the football training will be offered to children between the ages of 12 to 18 who are currently sponsored by local NGOs, including the Indochina Starfish Found­ation, the Happy School, the Center for Children’s Happiness and the Riverkids Foundation.

Northbridge Property and Devel­opment Manager Laurie Karatau said Friday that five girls or boys from the school had also been invited to attend.

Grogan said the clinic was the chance to offer world class coaching to poor children in Phnom Penh, some of whom live at the Stung Meanchey municipal dump. The real prize, however, will be Cambo­dia’s first ever participation in the Home­less World Cup, a 56-nation weeklong tourney of four-on-four street football to be held in Melbourne from Dec 1 to 7.

Other competitors include Af­ghan­istan, Brazil, Cameroon and reigning 2007 champions Scotland.

“I think this is a fantastic opportunity to take kids from difficult backgrounds to see what they can do,” said Grogan, adding that the world cup players will return to Cambodia with passports and stories of the wider world. “They’re going to be professional athletes for two weeks. All they’re going to do is train and play soccer.”

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