Football For Friendship young heroes from Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands return home

July 18, 2018

In the lead up to the FIFA World Cup 2018, the sixth Football For Friendship

programme was attended by 1500 children and was covered by over 300 international

media outlets to spread the values embodied by the beautiful game to the world. Now

these kids will bring the values learned at this rapidly growing global social programme

to their own countries in the name of friendship.

F4F consisted of training for designated Young Players, masterclasses for designated

Young Journalists, the showpiece Football For Friendship World Championship and

finished with Football For Friendship International Children's Forum.

On 12 June, the Football for Friendship World Championship was held at the Sapsan

Arena, home of local professional club FC Kazanka Moscow. In total, 32 International

Teams of Friendship were formed on the friendship principle, with each team named

after rare animals on the verge of extinction to increase the interest of younger

generations in preserving the worlds fauna.

Team Chimpanzee - Football For Friendship World Champions 2018

Team Chimpanzee won the tournament and were presented with the Nine Values Cup,

representing the nine values of the programme: friendship, equality, fairness, health,

peace, devotion, victory, traditions and honour. Its team comprised of young players

from Wales, Kenya, Dominican Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Philippines and Brazil

showcasing a feature of the F4F programme with athletes of different nationalities,

genders and physical abilities uniting to play as one team.

At the International Football For Friendship Children's Forum, personal endorsements

from legendary Spanish goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, and Russian Under 17s manager and

former international striker, Aleksandr Kerzhakov, took place. Russian President,

Vladimir Putin, sent his own message, which was read out by the Deputy Prime Minister

for Social Affairs, Olga Golodets

To cap off the programme, all participants were invited to attend the opening match of

the FIFA World Cup 2018. The delegation of almost 1500 children watched Russia

beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the tournament opener with some even participating as flag

wavers in the opening ceremony, capping off an experience that will live long in the

memories of these 12 year-old Football For Friendship Young Ambassadors.

The official Football For Friendship App has been released so that participants can

continue to tell the F4F story all year round, showing the commitment organisers have

to building a generation of connected, open people.

I really like the fact that now that Ive returned home after Football for Friendship, I will

be able to show my friends videos and photos from all events as well as interesting

facts about all the countries of the world that are so wonderfully described in the app,"

said Young Ambassador of Football for Friendship, Noah Borg (12, Australia).

F4F Global Director, Vladimir Serov, told the children before an opening day crowd at

Moscow's Spartak Football Academy: "In one team, playing together there are kids of

different nationalities, different genders, different physical abilities.

"I believe together we will be able to help them, our young participants, to find new

friends from different countries, to learn how to play together, how to live together ... and

I believe they will show people what the world could be without discrimination, without

racism, war and violence."

This opportunity was brought to the Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific

region by Football For Friendships global football partnership with Lengo Football

Academy and its local partner, Reagan Milstein Foundation.

Emanuel Saakai, founder and Director of Football at Lengo Football Academy has

heaped praise on what was a once in a lifetime opportunity for many young participants.

What an incredible life changing experience for a whole generation of bright kids. Now

they can take the F4F message to their peers in their home countries and spread the

message of peace and equality so that they can grow together through the magic of


The seventh instalment of the F4F programme will be held in 2019 with details soon to

be announced.



Participant quotes:


Young Player: Luca Durso

It was an experience of a lifetime and I made a lot of friends. I became really good friends

with Joseph, a boy from Gabon who was our young coach. Mr Durso said.

I never thought Id be in the opening ceremony in Russia and get to see all of the teams

that Ive always wanted to see

Young Journalist: Noah Borg

The Football for Friendship program was a lifetime experience for me and I was able to

unite with people from 211 countries, made many new friends and learnt about their

culture and background, said Mr Borg.

The program highlighted to me the importance of the 9 values and ecological

awareness. I will continue to promote the 9 values at home, at school and with my

family, friends and people I meet. It was a an amazing experience and I will continue

sharing my story with others. We are changing the world!

Cook Islands

Young Coach: Daniel Ngamata

It was very exciting being a part of this event as I got to make good friendships and

create bonds with children from countries like Serbia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Somalia,

Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Trinidad and Tobago. said Mr Ngamata.

This journey helped me open up to others, being more confident and adaptable with

others. It has inspired me to train harder and commit myself to football because the

earth is shaped like a football and football drives the planet.

Young Journalist: Amqle Tuaratini

Ms Tuaratini said, We had a lot of fun, all the kids from different countries have their

own unique way of showing their culture. I meet so many kids from different countries

but my and I became friends Luzia from Serbia and Ziporah from Tanzania. Luzia is the

open social type, she wont hesitate to say what she wants. Ziporah is quiet girl but

when you get to know her shes really fun.

This trip boosted my confidence and made me more sociable with everyone. I talk a lot

now and I have a much better perspective and view of the world. It has inspired me to

travel the world in the future, and maybe become an air hostess, but whatever chance I

get in the future Id make sure Cook Islands becomes well-known.


Young Player: Elizabeth Laqere

My dream is to play for Fiji and hopefully, win a scholarship where I can study and play

football. My interest started while accompanying my grandmother to watch my uncles

play and I started playing at nine - I believe in equality because it promotes

togetherness, said Ms Laqere.

Young Journalist: Hayyaan Khan

Mr Khan said: I am good at writing and am also a keen footballer whos eager to learn

more. While Im proud to represent Fiji as a journalist at F4F, and I loved representing

my country at the 2028 FIFA World Cup. Football can help us to live happily together as

part of a multi-racial country.

New Caledonia

Young Player: Karine Waru

I discovered football when I was three-years-old and its thanks to my late father that I

learnt a lot about the history of football in New Caledonia. Friendship is essential to

connect us despite our differences, countries and cultures. There are too many wars in

the world and we must work together to preserve harmony and F4F has made that even

more possible, said Ms Waru.

New Zealand

Young Player: Jonty Burggraaf

Football is the biggest sport in the world, so many people play it. We are all on the

same planet so if everyone just plays and gets along we can make lots of friends and

have a better future, said Mr Burggraaf.

Young Journalist: Isla Ganley

Ms Ganley said: Its really amazing to see all the different countries to come and

compete in the F4F programme. Ive made loads of friends from all over the world. I

have a friend called Majesty, Amir and a couple of friens both called Daniel!


Young Player: Peniata Maiava

Peniata Soul Maiava said: I made so many friends, learned different languages, skills

and techniques in football, different countries and their cultures, different flags that

belong to certain countries. And we also shared Samoas culture among other

countries. For me, it was fun; I liked the kids playing with me, like my team. I learned

some Russian words like saying good morning dobroe utro and one of the skills I

learned was the panna move, in football it is when a player dribbles the ball between the

legs of a player from the opposing team.

Young Journalist: Semisi Semisi

Mr. Semisi said: The highlight was of course the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening

ceremony and match, as I sat down in my mind I thought it was just a dream, because I

never thought I would be there. I thought the game was a bit one sided, but the opening

ceremony was really entertaining and then the next day we departed, which was a sad

and emotional day for everyone.

Solomon Islands

Young Player: Abraham Iniga

I started playing football when I was five. My dad is a national player for our country

and with his help and encouragement, I dream that one day, I can follow my fathers

footsteps. Football is about more than playing - it brings friendship, unity and peace. In

football, there are no differences and titles, we are one, said Mr. Iniga.

Young Journalist: Hendrix Maneoru

Mr. Maneoru said: I am pleased to be nominated for the Football for Friendship

programme and to support the values of friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace,

devotion, victory, traditions and honour. I believe that everyone should be given an

equal chance and that people should be treated fairly so we can all live together in

peace and harmony and make the world a better place.


Young Player: Nahiti Germain

I started playing football at three and want to be professional player in the future. Im

looking forward to meeting andplaying with people from other countries. Im also curious

to see Russia, said Mr. Germain.

Young Journalist: Terehau Hucke

Mr. Hucke said: Football brings me joy and teaches me respect. I cant wait to meet

players from other countries and to discover new things during my stay in Russia.

Friendship is important to me - I love being part of agroup and to be part of a combined



Young Player: Kalisitaine Seau

F4F has a very professional level of playing. You have to do a lot of training at your

home country before heading going out because from what I saw and experience, there

are future stars in the F4F. That is what I learned and going to put effort on it when I

return to my home country, said Mr Seau

The highlight will be the Opening of the World Cup. In my country it is a rare

opportunity, but attending the opening really encourage myself and hope one day, Ill be

a professional player.

Young Journalist: Anita Hufanga

TBC Ms. Hufanga said: F4F gave me opportunity to build confident in myself despite

being a girl. As a first time traveler I began to see that this world is much bigger than I

thought. Im happy to go back and share my experience and what I learned out of the 9


The highlight of F4F would be the Opening ceremony of the F4F. This is a bigger event

then what I used back in my country because you can see different representatives from

different country.


Young Player: Meihua Franck

I learned to make new friends, and the value of friendship. And in the future, I would like

to share my experience on the football pitch with other children. My highlight was

getting to meet and see football stars and attending the World Cup opening ceremony

said Ms. Franck.

Young Journalist: Iawiolo Batal

Mr. Batal said: To become a journalist and make new friends was amazing. I also got

to learn to speak few words of other languages. And in the future, I would like to share

my experience with other children and to encourage them to play sport because it can

help them to travel and make new friends.


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