Football used as a catalyst for positive change Former England player Cyrille Regis presented the winners with their trophy
Players from Booth House Lifehouse in Whitechapel, London held their nerve during a dramatic football final to be crowned overall winners of the 2012 Salvation Army Partnership Trophy on Wednesday 3 October. The annual five-a-side football tournament is for homeless men and women living in Salvation Army Lifehouses and other supported housing units run by The Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA). Close to 300 players in 26 teams from across the UK and as far a field as Glasgow, Belfast and Southampton gathered at the Power League stadium in Birmingham for the competition.
The winning team from London, made up of Ricky Ingram, Jamel Paxton, Daniel Ifield, Keegan Rodrigues, Djibdil Djalod and Pedro Mancel beat the skilful five-a-side team from Glasgow in a nail-biting match which ended 4-2 to the Londoners.
Team manager of the Whiechapel team, Faisal Ahmad said: "I'm really proud of the team, they were fantastic; an early goal from player of the tournament Djibdil Djalod set us up to lead the final. All the guys played superbly." Former England international and West Bromwich Albion striker Cyrille Regis gave up his time for free, to present the winners with their trophy.
He said: "I am delighted to be involved with The Salvation Army Partnership Trophy today. I am very impressed with the work The Salvation Army does, working with residents of Lifehouses in Birmingham and beyond.
As an ex-professional footballer, I think it's a wonderful idea to use the beautiful game to build the confidence of participants. I'm sure it gives them a sense of purpose to come to the centre and allows them to integrate with others and develop core communication skills. I am honoured to be a part of the day."
Each team was made up of seven people who are currently homeless and rebuilding their lives with the help of The Salvation Army. Major Julian Watchorn, Deputy Director of Homelessness Services, says: "We believe everyone is valuable and has a contribution to make. Our Lifehouses offer people not just shelter for the night but the opportunity of engaging in establishing a sense of purpose and of rebuilding relationships through education, training, employment , befriending and much more."
He adds: "The competitors are all living in our Lifehouses, and football gives them an opportunity to be part of a team, and gives them a sense of confidence and achievement to make a positive change in their lives." Competitors received lunch thanks to Pret-a-Manger, which was supporting the tournament.