February 5 2008
Ghana: Football Campaign for Peace and Development
"Football for Peace and Development" is the name of SOS Children's Villages' football campaign, which is currently taking place in Ghana. A total of 750 children and young people from three African countries met up at SOS Children's Village Tema, which is near to the capital Accra.
Football was not the only thing on the agenda over the four days of the campaign. An emphasis was also placed on raising awareness: trainers, teachers and many volunteers took a hands-on approach to teaching the children about HIV/AIDS, living together in peace, children's rights, human rights and the right to an education.
Football is not just for boys: all the teams have three boys and three girls. Former German Bundesliga player and Ghanaian national hero Anthony Baffoe, in his role as patron, told the children: "For you, three things are important in life: education, education and education!" Also present were teams from SOS Children's Villages in Ghana, Benin, Nigeria and schools from across Ghana, with which SOS Children's Villages Ghana is now forming a network.
SOS Children's Villages worked on this project with several other NGOs in order to reach out to as many children as possible: "Right to Play", "Play Soccer Ghana", "Tackle Africa" and "Fare" (Football Against Racism in Europe) voiced their concerns during the breaks between games. The interest of the Ghanaian people meant that the "Football for Peace and Development" campaign extended beyond the boundaries of the SOS Children's Village. Football legends Abedi Pelé and Anthony Baffoe (both from Ghana) and Segun Odegbami (from Nigeria) spoke to the children.
Many sports manufacturers supported the campaign. An SOS team from Benin in the Germany football strip and a team from Gbanzaba Junior High School from Tamale (northern Ghana) in the Austria football strip were therefore able to give a sneak preview of the international game in Vienna on 6 February.
The game resulted in a tie: 0:0, but there were 750 winners in this tournament.
SOS Children's Villages intends to hold a number of events in other African countries leading up to the football World Cup in 2010.
FIFA/SOS ambassador Anthony Baffoe welcomes 750 children to the football tournament at SOS Children's Village Tema - Photo: W. Kehl
Boys and girls in the same team
Photo: W. Kehl
Official entrance onto the pitch! - Photo: W. Kehl
Uhlsport also donated football shirts - two sets of them. The red shirts went to the team from SOS Children's Village Asiakwa in Ghana, whilst the green ones went to the team from a SOS Children's Village in Nigeria.
Photo: W. Kehl
SOS Children's Villages Ghana invited teams from across Ghana, including particularly poor regions, to its "Football for Peace and Development". The small NGO "Step by Step" coached a team from the Volta region, which had also been invited to the tournament. The football strips that had been donated by Nike were given to this team. - Photo: W. Kehl