Warm reception makes up for cold weather

With an average temperature of 26 degrees, the town of St Andrew in the Caribbean country of Grenada has quite a different weather pattern from that of 2017 Homeless World Cup host city Oslo.

But for 28-year-old player Hasil Halley, the spirit of the tournament is providing the fuel he needs to stop the inclement weather from getting the better of him.

“So far it’s been a great experience. It’s a tournament where we get to meet people and fraternize with other cultures. We have been received in a warm way even if the city is very cold! We are grateful and thankful to be representing Grenada at this year’s Homeless World Cup.”

Halley needed time to adapt to playing on a different pitch and to different rules than the traditional 11-a-side set-up, but is happy to be continuing his lifelong love for the game in new surroundings.

“I’ve been playing football for quite some time – over 20 years. The Homeless World Cup format is new to me and my teammates. So far we are enjoying it and having a lot of fun.”

Having arrived in Oslo via the work of the Jason Roberts Foundation, which was created by the ex-Wigan and -Blackburn player in his native country, Halley has been galvanised by what he has seen at this year’s tournament to encourage others to use football as a means to better themselves.

“What I’ve seen here is inspiring and motivating me to go back to Grenada and try to share what I’ve learned and get more people involved in this way of playing. For me, football is the way to go. It unites a lot of nations and brings communities together, and I think the Homeless World Cup is going down the right path.”

Words: Craig Williams
Images: Romain Kedochim