Let us kick the ball, not each other. That clarion call was sent out jointly by the Phnom Penh-based Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) and Coaches Across Continents (CAC) to mark the worldwide celebrations of Peace Day on Saturday.
Peace One Day, a non-profit organisation founded by film-maker Jeremy Gilley in 1999, has used the power of football in a unique event called “One Day One Goal” to unify people since its launch in Ghana during the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008,
The CAC and its associates chose an exciting element of football as its main theme for Peace Day this year, hosting a ball juggling initiative in 20 countries. ISF faithfully jumped in as Cambodia’s representative.
The day-long juggle-a-thon saw ISF players, coaches, volunteers and representatives from some of its partner organisations enthusiastically showing off their skills.
Every participant was given three chances to juggle a football either with the foot or the knee. A count was taken until the ball hit the ground.
The combined counts represented an individual’s score and, after each person had been assessed, the collective score was taken as Cambodia’s grand total.
It will be interesting to see where the Kingdom ranks at the art of juggling when the numbers come in from other competing nations.
“The message of peaceful resolution and not violence was spread throughout the day. We were very happy with the response and the level of enthusiasm,” ISF Country Manager Kate Griffin told the Post yesterday.
“ISF recently partnered with CAC, who are the world’s only organisation with a proven track record in using football as a vehicle for social change in developing communities,” she said.
The CAC mobilises volunteers, financial resources and equipment to work with local teachers and community leaders in disadvantaged areas on three continents, creating sustainable educational programs for children and youth that use football as a teaching tool.
The organisation recently worked with the ISF to provide two weeks of training for as many as 70 male and female qualified and non-qualified coaches and also people interested in football representing NGOs and communities associated with ISF’s football programs in Phnom Penh.
Some of the participants attending this camp came from as far as Siem Reap, Battambang, Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kandal and Prey Veng. There were also six representatives from the Deaf Development Programme attending the training.
Among the most memorable One Day One Goal events over the years have been football matches played among children exposed to gang violence in South America and those between the warring Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
In 2001, member states of the United Nations adopted a resolution declaring September 21 as the annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence.