Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Argentina football legends Diego Amando Maradona, Lionel Messi and a host of former and active football stars will play an international exhibition match against human trafficking, insurgency and terrorism. The match will be played on May 21 in Abuja.
The FIFA and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) sanctioned initiative tagged: Africa My Africa is organised by next2none, a non-profit making organisation to use football to promote global security and fight human trafficking.
The novelty match between Africa Stars Vs World Stars will feature household names including Zinedine Zidane, Ruud Gullit, Ronaldinho, George Weah, Samuel Kuffour, Samuel Eto’o, Abedi Pele, Nwankwo Kanu, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Others include David Beckham, Didier Drogba and a cluster of female footballers such as Sydney Leroux, Asisat Oshoala, Birgit Prinz, Sun Wen, Abby Wanbach, Homare Sawa, Kelly Smith, Marta, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Toni Duggan, Anouk Hoogendijk, Nayeli Rangel, Lauren Sesselmann, Julia Simic and Corine Petit.
At a media event to announce the project, Chairman of next2none, Ndukwe Sam Obu said a global initiative uniting all nations was required to combat terrorist activities which have been on the spike over the last decade.
Obu said that radicalisation of the youths into violent extremism was a great concern in Africa, given that approximately 70 per cent of African population are youths.
He said the organisers and other stakeholders including the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and National Agency for Prohibition and Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) sought to arrange the match by leveraging on football which has shown positive impact in bringing peace to different nations and as a tool for reconciliation.