Nikiforos Sdralias, Captain, admits that even today he finds it hard to give an accurate account of his inner feelings and the way the unique experience of Greece's baptism of fire at the Homeless World Cup affected his life:
Nikiforos Sdralias, Captain, Greece 2007
Nikiforos admits that even today he finds it hard to give an accurate account of his inner feelings and the way the unique experience of Greece's baptism of fire at the Copenhagen 2007 Homeless World Cup affected his life:
â€œThe pleasure of playing football not against but with people from all over the world who share the same problems with me was such a tremendous experience. After the final whistle of each game, the scoreboard never really mattered. I was just so happy to have interacted with all these people, to have made so many friends even if we never got to exchange a single word!"
â€œThe Copenhagen experience has had a huge impact on my life and the way I think. Most importantly, participation in such an important global event made me believe in myself. Believe that through hard work, I can make things happen, I can have my dreams turned into reality. I have the self-confidence and the motivation to move forward in my life."
And moving forward he is. Nikiforos used to live in the streets of Athens until he joined â€œTheseas Drug Rehabilitation Programâ€ and last April joined the Greek Homeless World Cup Team.
â€œI have come to realize how important it is to be setting targets for yourself. Set your target and then go out and attain it.â€ He encourages everyone to do it. As a result, Nikiforos is looking forward to completing the rehab program in the next few months. In the meantime he has started work in the retail sector and has just rented his first apartment.
â€œI just want to say thank you to all those involved with the Homeless World Cup for the opportunity that they gave me to prove to myself that I can make it. It was a dream come true.â€