TCIFA prepares for the final events of the 6th Annual “Football For Friendship” held in Moscow Russia
For the very first time young players from all 211 FIFA Member Association countries will meet on the same field. Over 5,700 miles away from home, 12-year old South Caicos native, Irener Moline, gears up for a fun filled week of educational and football activities. Moline, who dreams of one day becoming a professional football player, will engage with hundreds of other 12 year olds from across the globe, in promoting the key human values - friendship, equality, peace, and respect for different cultures and nationalities. “This is like a dream. I would like to thank TCIFA for believing that I could represent our country on such a huge stage. I am nervous as it is a long way from home, and I’ve never travelled that far. But, I’m excited to meet the other participants, who are my age, and from so many different backgrounds. I am also excited about all the new things I’ll learn, from this exposure,” expressed the Turks & Caicos ambassador.
Football For Friendship (F4F), implemented by Gazprom, is the international children’s social programme supported by FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The programme commenced in February, with an Open Draw for the F4F World Championship. A number of educational and social celebrations were held throughout the world leading up to the key events being hosted in Moscow Russia from June 8-15. The 8-day stretch will unfold 3 days of an International Friendship Camp where 14-16 year old coaches, supervised by famous football players, will guide the young players (ambassadors); followed by the F4F World Championship. The 32 teams of young players competing in the championship were formed using the F4F principles; i.e. athletes of different nationalities, genders and physical abilities will play on one team; each team named after an endangered animal found on the continents of the world. Concluding the events are the International F4F Children’s Forum, and the most anticipated visit to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony and Football Match.
Accompanying Moline to Moscow are Thais Burgess (young journalist), Candia Ewing (adult journalist) and Drani Saunders (TCIFA Executive Member responsible for youth football). Burgess will join the F4F International Children’s Press Center to follow Moline’s journey, amongst 5,000 other media representatives covering the events. The F4F International Children’s Press Center will also see young journalists, 12 years old, from all 211 FIFA Member Association Countries. “I will be exposed to so much more than I can describe. I am thrilled that I will get to experience new cultures as well as meet new people and make new friends. It is important to hear the voice of the youth and promote the values of equality and sportsmanship. I know that this experience will change my life. The experience is sure to be surreal,” said Burgess.
Commenting on this wonderful initiative, TCIFA’s President was effusive on the opportunities being given to young children involved in Football in the Turks and Caicos Islands. “Both Irener and Thais are players within our programs and we are elated that they are being provided with this opportunity. It is not only an avenue to spread the word about our island and the talent we produce, but it is an initiative that will go miles in developing these players on the field but more importantly, develop and assist in their growth as high achieving young ladies off the field. We wish the entire travelling delegation safe travels and we are confident that they will all make us proud”