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 world’s 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 I’ve 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 Friendship’s 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
ADDITIONAL QUOTE RESOURCES:
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 I’d be in the opening ceremony in Russia and get to see all of the teams
that I’ve 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!”
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 won’t hesitate to say what she wants. Ziporah is quiet girl but
when you get to know her she’s 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 I’d 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 uncle’s
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 who’s eager to learn
more. While I’m 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.”
Young Player: Karine Waru
“I discovered football when I was three-years-old and it’s 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.
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: “It’s really amazing to see all the different countries to come and
compete in the F4F programme. I’ve 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 Samoa’s 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.”
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 father’s
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. I’m
looking forward to meeting andplaying with people from other countries. I’m also curious
to see Russia,” said Mr. Germain.
Young Journalist: Terehau Hucke
Mr. Hucke said: “Football brings me joy and teaches me respect. I can’t 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, I’ll 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. I’m 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
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.”