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Football stars: Scoring goals and helping the poor

To help students consider how sport can help in international development.

by Tim Scott

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To help students consider how sport can help in international development.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a football and a globe (ideally inflatable). Print out the world map at the Wikipedia website with countries highlighted in green that qualified to play in the World Cup: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2010_world_cup_qualification.png.
  • As part of the assembly you could ask the students what the countries coloured in green have in common. Then ask a volunteer to point to where South Africa is on the globe. Read out the names of several countries that played and ask students to name the continent that country is in.
  • A full list of the countries who played in the FIFA World Cup is as follows:
    South Africa (hosts)
    Africa: Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria
    Asia: Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea
    Europe: Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland
    South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay
    North and Central America: Honduras, Mexico, United States
    Asia/Oceania: New Zealand
  • Prepare a PowerPoint presentation with pictures of the football players Craig Bellamy, Didier Drogba and Patrick Viera.
  • For more information, see: http://www.thedidierdrogbafoundation.com; http://www.diambars.org.
  • Music suggestion: play one of the pieces of music associated with the World Cup.

Assembly

  1. Last month, a global audience of millions watched the World Cup finals being played in South Africa. Football is loved by people everywhere. It was a summer full of excitement. How much do you know about the host country? Did you know that it is the first time ever that a World Cup has been held in an African nation? Nearly 16 years since its first democratic elections, South Africa plays an important global role as a large emerging economy in the world.

    The population of South Africa is 48.6 million and the life expectancy is just 50 years, due to a high incidence of HIV and AIDS.
  2. Have you ever thought that football players earn too much money? Whether you think they deserve such money or not, some choose to use their fame and fortune to fight poverty, and I’m going to tell you about a few such players. Whether or not you ever become famous, think about how you could use your talents and gifts to help the poorest people in the world.
  3. Craig Bellamy (Manchester City and Wales). In 2007 Craig Bellamy visited a friend in Sierra Leone, a country known for bloody conflict associated with its rich mineral reserves, including a nine-year civil war. Despite the poverty and desperation there, Bellamy realized the potential for a project that could offer hope. The Craig Bellamy Foundation was created to inspire personal and social development in children through the power of sport. The foundation has organized a network of nationwide football development leagues for boys aged 10 to 14, which has 1,600 registered members. In order to encourage school attendance, all players must be attending school. Further leagues for girls and disabled young people are being planned. 
  4. Didier Drogba (Chelsea and Côte d’Ivoire). In January 2007 Didier Drogba was appointed a goodwill ambassador by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), joining football legends including Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane. Drogba has a particular concern for his home continent, Africa. ‘I don’t forget my origins,’ he said. ‘I have been given opportunities to succeed in life, but I constantly think about the ones who did not have this chance. We all need to contribute to help defeat poverty.’ The Chelsea striker is founder of the Didier Drogba Foundation, which helps to solve healthcare and education issues in Côte d’Ivoire. Drogba recently pledged £3 million to fund the building of a hospital there.
  5. Patrick Vieira (Manchester City and France). Patrick Vieira is one of the high-profile supporters of the Diambars Institute, a pioneering academy providing African boys with a first-class education and a chance of making it in professional football. Born in Senegal, Viera wanted to do something of real benefit for his country of birth. Football is used as the driving force for education at the institute. They aim to get at least 20 per cent of students in the programme to go on to become professional football players, but they also say: ‘We want to guarantee that those who don’t can still become champions in life.’
  6. In football even the best player needs other team members to help him get the ball, otherwise he’ll never score. In this world, we all need to work together to score the goal of seeing poverty and its terrible consequences reduced and even perhaps one day eradicated from this world.

Time for reflection

Football and other sports are not only great fun, but ways of building bridges to people from different countries and continents, different cultures and backgrounds, whether rich or poor, black or white, Christian or Muslim, disabled or able bodied.

Prayer

Lord,

Thank you for the fun of playing sports like football,

and for the way they can help unite different people

and bring joy, focus, hope and new opportunities

for some of the poorest people in the world.

Amen.

Publication date: July 2010   (Vol.12 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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