Match Against Poverty
In 2003, two soccer sensations, namely Renaldo and Zinedine Zidane, jumped on board the UN Development Program as Goodwill Ambassadors, to assist in the Millennium Development Goals project to try and halve the poverty in the world by the year 2015. Their contribution to this goal has been to host the Match Against Poverty, where all proceeds are donated to the cause. This year, the sixth Match Against Poverty will be hosted outside Europe for the first time, with the city of Fez, in Morocco, being host to this spectacular event.
The entire Morocco has been in celebration since the announcement that the Match Against Poverty will be taking place on the 17th of November 2008, which also falls in as part of the 1200th anniversary celebration of Fez. As African countries also struggle with poverty, it was decided to look outside the boundaries of Europe for a venue. After the match in Morocco, another seven matches will be held between this year and 2015 and it is hoped that the Match Against Poverty will assist in various issues, not only poverty, such as discrimination, hunger, education and disease.
Renaldo and Zinedine Zidane each captain a team of past and present soccer heroes that play against each other. Spectators get the opportunity to see world famous stars, while supporting a worthy cause. Match Against Poverty is supported by FIFA, while the equipment and clothing used by the two teams are sponsored by Nike and Adidas, in support of the UN Development Program. So far, these matched have helped many communities in countries all over the world, including Madagascar, Uganda, Brazil, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Bosnia, Vietnam, Haiti, Cuba, Malawi and Tanzania.
In regard to the Match Against Poverty, Zindane said: “Every year I am looking forward to playing this game for such a just cause and this year’s edition is a very special one for me, not just because it is the first time that we are playing outside of Europe but also because it will take place in North Africa” Zindane retired from professional football in 2006, but always participates in these matches, as it is a cause he believes in deeply. “We have to be a team against poverty if we wish to realise the MDGs by 2015,” Ronaldo said when asked to comment on the upcoming game. “We are thrilled that the ‘Match Against Poverty’ is attracting more and more spectators. This is a game we all need to win.”