14 October 2009
Getting an autograph from a famous player is usually a special event in a football fan’s life. So it may come as a surprise that some of the world’s greatest players are now asking fans for their signatures.
Many of the world’s best past and current footballers have asked millions of football fans to pledge their support to a new global campaign that is lobbying governments to provide primary school education for the 75-million children worldwide who currently have none.
The 1 Goal education campaign is focused on ensuring that all children receive an education. To further the cause, the campaign is harnessing the power of football, using the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ in South Africa as the catalyst for global education reform.
On 6 October, South African President Jacob Zuma was joined by various other heads of state to pledge their support at the global launch of the 1 Goal campaign. They were joined by famous footballers including Frank Rijkaard, Gary Lineker, Marcel Desailly, Rio Ferdinand, Sir Bobby Charlton, Mark Fish, Doctor Khumalo, Aaron Mokeona and Matthew Booth.
“There are 40-million more children – most of them in Africa – in school today because governments took action nine years ago,” South African national football captain Aaron Mokeona said at the launch of the campaign. “The World Cup is in South Africa next year, so it is a good time to redouble our efforts and take another shot at getting the rest of these kids into classrooms.”
Nine-year-old Gugu Ngubane – who has already signed up to support the cause – is proud to be part of the 1 Goad campaign. “When I grow up, I want to be a nurse,” says Ngubane. “My school is very excited about the World Cup next year, and we are very proud.”
Zuma, who signed up for 1 Goal in Johannesburg, was joined via satellite by Fifa president Sepp Blatter, campaign co-chair Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan, UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Ghanaian President Atta Mills, Netherlands Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
These heads of state all agreed to spend the next year working toward a breakthrough on global education funding and making education the legacy of the World Cup in Africa and impoverished regions around the World.
“We support the footballers and their fans in calling on all world leaders to do their part to ensure every child can go to school,” Zuma said. “We need to see action at the World Cup and beyond. By acting now, together we can ensure education for all.”
Blatter said the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the first World Cup to be held on the African continent, “represents a unique opportunity to mobilise energies around the globe to provide education and thus a better future for every child of our planet.”