Gazprom Football For Friendship: Young Ugandans inspired by Russia experience

Tabu
Team Uganda members in a selfie moment while in Russia

There are a billion and one reasons why the sport of football is popularly referred to as the “beautiful game”.

Bar the adrenaline flowing emotions, football is a game palatable to the eyes, ears, nose, throat and the brain.

That fancy dribble, the step overs, quick dummies, Jay-Jay Okocha’s trademark long throw ins, explicit no-look pass, the teasing cross, through ball and that final shot that shakes the goal net, football has it all.

It obviously unites millions regardless of cultural diversity, tribal affiliation, colour, gender or race.

As a curtain raiser prior to the on-going 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, there was the famous Gazprom Football For Friendship, a tournament that brings together 211 countries and Regions.

The pearl of Africa nation, Uganda was never left out of the box.

Gazprom Football For Friendship
Entebbe Junior School’s 12-year-old Musa Ahmed Abuka Mweteneza displays the placard portraying his team – Magellanic Penguin

Uganda was ably represented by the Entebbe Junior School’s 12-year-old Musa Ahmed Abuka Abuka Mweteneza (school team captain) (school team captain), 16-year-old Charles Lwanga of Idenal Soccer Academy (Young coach), Peter Tabu (Journalist), former Express CEO Ram Hajji as well as another accompanying adult.

Tabu, a sports journalist working with popular city radio station, Radio City revels in every minute spent in Russia.

The Gazprom Football For Friendship tournament was total fun, educative and a learning plat form as well. We enjoyed and learnt a lot from our brothers and sisters from the rest of the participating countries. We got new friends as well who could in one way be purposeful in life. Best of all, we got the opportunity to watch the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup between Russia and Saudi Arabia

In fact, Uganda was among the six CECAFA region countries at the Gazprom Football For Friendship Fete.

Others were Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Sudan.

The rest of the African nations included; Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Libya and Egypt.

At the fete, team chimpanzee consisting of Phillip Gregory Cameroon (Dominica), Rodriguez Uruena Jeronimo (Colombia), Peter Paulo (Malawi), Yamirou Ouorou (Benin), Deo Kalenga Mwenze (DR Congo), Alex Oneil Junior Daniel (St Kitts and Nevis) and the young coach from Russia Vladislav Polyakov (city of Saransk).

Team Chimpanzee

The event took place at the Sapsan Arena in Moscor and it was covered by over 5000 world media.

About the Football For Friendship:

Football for Friendship (F4F) is the International Children’s social programme implemented since 2013.

The programme aims at developing youth football and a healthy lifestyle as well as promoting tolerance, open-mindedness and friendship among children from across the globe.

The key values of the programme include friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions and honour.

This programme is supported by FIFA, UEFA, Olympic and Paralympic Committee, football federations, children’s foundations, hundreds of famous athletes, and thousands of journalists around the globe.

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