Abuja, 9th May 2018 – We are happy to announce that two Nigerian children, Ayomide David Ayanbunmi, a young footballer and Hussain Dikko, a young journalist, will take part in the Football For Friendship program 2018, organized by Gazprom and FIFA. Gazprom’s International Children’s social program Football for Friendship was launched in 2013. The project brings together boys and girls of different nationalities and physical abilities. Its aim is to develop children’s football and foster in children from different places respect for other cultures and nationalities. The key values sustained and promoted by the program’s participants are friendship, equality, justice, health, peace, devotion, victory, tradition and honor. In 2018, Football For Friendship welcomes 211 countries.
Ayomide David and Hussain were presented during the International Day of Football and Friendship which was celebrated in over 200 cities of the world with special events to promote friendship, mutual respect, and healthy living. Tens of thousands of children and adults are participating in friendly matches, open training sessions, flash mobs and sporting events. On this day, everyone who shares such important human values as equality, respect for different cultures and peaceful coexistence ties a blue-and-green friendship bracelet on his her wrist as a symbol of the Gazprom’s International Children’s social Programme Football for Friendship. The blue thread stands for a peaceful sky, and the green one is a football field open to everyone. The participants have been supported by famous footballers, coaches, television hosts, actors and members of government agencies all over the world.
In Algeria, young sportsmen held a spring cleaning at one of the largest municipal football stadiums to pay respect to the Football for Friendship’s key values, followed by two friendly matches between local children and the programme’s Young Ambassadors. Senegal, which took part in the programme for the first time this year, held a press conference featuring a legend of Senegalese football, Amara Traoré, as well as officials from the country’s Ministry of Sport. In South Africa, the youth football academy Young Bafana held a friendly beach football match, and before that, a golf competition – after all, real friendship is possible in any sport.
«I believe that football unites wide variety of people, because there are no limits for real friendship, the main thing is kindness and tenderness. I really want to become a famous football player so that my country could be proud of me», Jadidi Meuuo Ndombuki, a Young Ambassador of Football for Friendship from Kenya shared his emotions.
«It is wonderful that the names of the Young Ambassadors of the programme’s new season were announced today, on International Day of Football and Friendship. I can say that the players from Tanzania are eager to share their excitement about their participation in the project with children from different countries. I wholeheartedly wish all the young sportspeople good luck and an experience of a lifetime in Moscow», said Emanuel Saakai, CEO of the Tanzanian academy, Lengo Football Academy and Football for Friendship coordinator in Tanzania.
The first International Day of Football and Friendship was announced by the Young Ambassadors of Gazprom’s Football for Friendship programme in 2014.
Over the years, the events have featured famous football players, including Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic and Russian goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin from Zenit (Saint Petersburg), as well as Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt from Feyenoord (Rotterdam) and the winner of the Euro 2004, Theodoros Zagorakis, from the Greek national football team.
A total of over 500,000 people have taken part in events connected to the International Day of Football and Friendship. The holiday has been supported by hundreds of football players: global football legend Franz Beckenbauer (Germany), one of the strongest strikers in African history, Didier Drogba (Côte d’Ivoire), famous Madrid Real defender Michel Salgado (Spain), former Arsenal London player Andrey Arshavin (Russia), ex-leader of the Portuguese national team Vitor Baia and other stars.