5 nations 1 ball: Gazprom implemented the Football for Friendship program’s 6th edition, and that’s become bigger this year. Girls and boys of 12 years of age, went Moscow from 211 countries. These youngsters were the ambassadors of football supporting the importance of values like peace, friendship and equality.
The Gazprom’s board of directors’ chairman, Victor Zubkov said: “Football for friendship is a social program, and it is not only about football, it is also about friendship and getting children to communicate. So while they are communicating with each other they implement the nine values being promoted by this program such as, peace, equality, which is important. And I think they manage to do it.”
All the 32 teams of Friendship around the world, named after imperil and rare species, gathered in Moscow at the Sapsan Arena Stadium.
They showed that different traditions, cultures and languages are not a hurdle to play without favouritism or discrimination and that the friendship has the ability to overcome borders.
South Korea’s Chanwoo Kim says: “I am happy because I made many friends from all over the world. I am from South Korea he is from North Korea, we met each other here and we became best friends!”
The young players exchange green and blue Friendship bands traditionally, the green color is a symbol of the football field and the blue color is the symbol of the peaceful sky.
Over the course of about four years, in excess of 2,650 individuals from 34 nations and more than 90 cities, speaking to in excess of 90 football groups and talking 27 dialects, have joined in the Football for Friendship program. Consistently around 100,000 individuals participate in praising the International Day of Football and Friendship.
Football for Friendship is upheld by such eminent footballers as Didier Drogba, Vitor Baia, Luis Neto, Ralf Faehrmann and Anatoly Tymoshchuk and also football affiliations and organizations in numerous nations, including FIFA and UEFA.
The games were scheduled one day before the World Cup started, and the tickets for the match between Saudi Arabia and Russia have been taken by all the participants.
The French Swan Dram says: “It’s a great honour to be able to play here at the World Cup in Russia. Because this really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am lucky. I can’t find the words. It’s just wonderful.”
This program promotes one of the most important value i.e. equality as boys and girls play together in this program, said Wadia Chery from Haiti.
She also said that she is feeling really proud to be here and she also aims to become like Mata, a big star of football.
Bogdan Batalin, who is just 14-years-old, was the youngest umpire on the field of Football for Friendship. He reached there all the way from Irkutsk in Siberia to become closer to biggest dream of his life.
“Football allows you to be friends because players on the field are connected by equality. This is a great experience because I want to be a referee. Here I can exchange experiences with other referees and see how footballers from other countries play.”said the referee Bogdan Batalin.
The Chimpanzee team has got the luck this time in the final. Colombia’s Jeronimo Rodriquez Uruena was one of the finest players, making so many goals to set his team on the top of the podium.
Colombia’s Uruena exclaimed: “I feel very very very happy, this is wonderful!”
A Dominica’s goalkeeper, Cameron Gregory Philip, says: “It’s an amazing experience, we won a tournament in Russia!”
In last 5 years, there has been a tremendous increment in the number of countries joining the Football for Friendship and in the number of supporters that has grown to more than 3m. Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who is the most productive goalscorer in the whole Russian football’s history i.e. 233 goals, shared the secretbehind his achievments.
A striker of Zenit St Petersburg, Kerzhakov said: “Football for friendship” stretches to more countries and more continents, every year, thanks to those boys and girls themselves, and to the message that they bring back home where they are trying to change the world for the better.”
Dominica’s Gameron and Colombia’s Jeronimo promised that they remain friends forever like all others who made new fellows while striking the ball.