12 year old kid selected to represent India at Football for Friendship programme in Russia

27th April 2017. Sujal Kahar, a 12 year old football enthusiast and goal keeper from Mumbai, has been shortlisted as India’s representative at the global FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP (F4F) social programme. The F4F programme, supported by Gazprom and FIFA, focuses on the development of children's football, fostering tolerance and respect for different cultures and nationalities among children from different countries. India joins the programme for the first time and will participate alongside over 60 other countries.

Sujal will joinYoung Footballers from around the world in St. Petersburg, Russia in July 2017.The children will play in eight-player teams, comprising boys and girls aged12years old, including those with disabilities, in the Gazprom FOOTBALL FORFRIENDSHIP International Championship. He will also participate in the FifthFootball for Friendship International Children's Forum, which will allowyoungsters to discuss with famous footballers and journalists how to promotethe programme’s values around the world. The fifth season of the F4F programmewill conclude with a visit by the participating children to the final match ofthe FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 at the St. Petersburg Stadium.

Sujal is oneof 15 members of an underprivileged family and attends a tuition-freegovernment school near his home. He started playing football at the age of 10and today plays for his school team, Educo Phoenix. When he was selected forthe school team his father bought him his first pair of gloves, which he stillwears in all his matches even today. His parents have been incrediblysupportive of his passion and have proved it by using their limited means tobuy him things that will help him play better. This talented, young goal keeperbelieves it is important to promote friendship, equality and peace because hebelieves that we need each of these three things to brighten our world.

Sujal Kaharwas shortlisted as the F4F Young Ambassador from India after an extensiveassessment process in association with Just For Kicks, a school interventionprogramme working towards developing life skills amongst children belonging tolower income families by incorporating football training in their schoolcurriculum. He was selected from among over 2500 children from 100 plus JustFor Kicks partner schools.

As part ofthe F4F programme, the Global Day of Football and Friendship was firstproclaimed on 25th April in 2014 and supported by FIFA and UEFA. During thisday, everyone who shares the most important values, such as equality, respectfor other cultures and peaceful existence bind a blue-green Friendship braceletto his hand. The blue string of the bracelet symbolizes the peaceful sky, andthe green string symbolizes the football field, accessible to everyone.

India joinedthe celebrations for the first time this year, where Sujal Kahar wasaccompanied by former India goal keeper and CEO of Western India FootballAssociation (WIFA) Henry Menezes in an event held at the WIFA CooperageGrounds. The celebrations, held on the sidelines of the WIFA State YouthChampionship that are currently underway in Mumbai, saw participants tie eachother the blue-green Friendship bracelet that is a symbol of the Global Day ofFootball and Friendship.

Around the world children, adults, personalities and football enthusiasts gathered in over 60 countries in celebration of the Global Day of Football and Friendship. The day saw a series of events promoting peace, friendship, equality and a healthy lifestyle, held across Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America. Tens of thousands of children and adults participate in friendly matches, open training sessions, flash mobs, marathons and sport events.

The events held in different parts of the world were attended by famous football players, including Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovich and Russian goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin from FC Zenit (St. Petersburg, Russia), Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt from FC Feyenoord (Rotterdam, the Netherlands). In Athens, the event was attended by the winner of the European Football Championship 2004 as part of the national team, Theodoras Zagarakis, who is a member of the European Parliament from Greece.

Background

The FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP (F4F) international children's social programme is implemented by Gazprom since 2013. The programme unites children of different nationalities, different sexes, different physical abilities. Friendship, peace and equality are the key values ​​promoted by participants of the FOOTBALL FOR FRIENDSHIP. The goal of the programme is the development of children's football, fostering tolerance and respect for different cultures and nationalities among children from different countries. The key values ​​that the participants support and promote are friendship, equality, justice, health, peace, loyalty, victory, tradition and honor.

The Global Day of Football and Friendship is celebrated in more than 60 countries around the world, including Russia, the United States, Brazil, India, China, Germany, France, Algeria, Syria, Iraq, Japan and other countries. Over 400 thousand people were involved in the festive events. In different years the Global Day of Football and Friendship Day was supported by hundreds of players including the legend of world football Franz Beckenbauer (Germany), one of the best striker in the history of the African continent Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire), the famous defender of Real Madrid Michel Solgado (Spain), ex-player of London Arsenal Andrey Arshavin (Russia), former captain of the national team Vitor Bahia (Portugal) and other stars from the world of football.


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