UN Secretary-General Plays Charity Football Match for Sierra Leone21 April 2012
New York (UNOSDP) — Today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined other diplomats in the "DiploMatch", a football match organized by the sport for peace NGO Play31. The goal of the match was to raise funds to hold community football tournaments in Sierra Leone. The NGO uses the unifying power of football to bring together people who have been torn apart by the Civil War which lasted more than a decade.
"We are here to help the Sierra Leone people. So many people have suffered from the war, including amputees. This is a real way to help.", the Secretary-General said. "It is tiring after returning from a dozen countries the past two weeks but it is worth it for the children", added the UN Secretary-General before kicking off the friendly match.
The two football teams were made up of Ambassadors and Officials of Permanent Missions to the UN of more than 15 countries, including Sierra Leone, Angola, Austria, Britain, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Morocco and San Marino. The Secretary-General played one half on each of the teams. Also participating was acclaimed Sierra Leonean author Ishmael Beah.
The match sought to raise funds and awareness for Play31's peacebuilding work in Sierra Leone. The money raised will be used to finance a community tournament in the country, which will involve almost 500 players — women, men and children — and gather close to 10,000 people.
In June 2010, during his visit to Sierra Leone the Secretary-General met single leg amputees’ football teams and spoke about the power of sport to overcome trauma and instil positive change in society.