The Fiji Football Association Just Play and Friends for Friendship p program gave 2 young Fijians a rare opportunity to meet new friends from all over the world as well as catching in precious FIFA World Cup 2018 action.
Football for Friendship (F4F) is an international children’s social program that was held in Moscow, Russia in the run-up to the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Amongst the participants in the program were two very lucky young Fijians.
While most adults who reach a certain stage of their life are still wishing and dreaming that they are able to witness a match in the World Cup, Elizebeth Laqere of Saraswati Manoca Primary School and Hayyaan Khan of Ba who are both 12 years respectively can already say that they have done that.
Lagere who is a class 8 student of Saraswati Manoca Primary School returned last week and was treated for a welcome feast for her great achievement by the school.
Laqere said “I am happy to have been given the opportunity to represent my country in the Football for Friendship programme in Moscow. The programme has helped me to make a lot of friends from different countries, and discuss, practice and play football with them. I was also given the opportunity to participate in the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup which is an experience that I will never forget. This has been an amazing journey and I hope to keep in touch with all my new friends from around the world.”
“I am going to cherish the memory of the atmosphere of my first air flight and the opening of the 2018 World Cup, “she said.
“I would like to thank God for giving me opportunity to be part of the FIFA World Cup.”
She said she was blessed to fly the Fijian Flag at the World Cup.
“I was very proud moment for me to fly my countries flag amongst 211 countries which I never dreamt about,” the niece of Rewa reps Epelei Saukuru and Iosefo Verevou said.
The F4F program saw participants from over 211 countries all around the world and it gave a great opportunity for children to meet and mingle with peers different personality and characters from various backgrounds.
Laqere said within the framework of the three-day International Friendship Camp, the sports trainings and practical master classes with the football world stars and professional coaches was organized for them.
“We were addressed by the public figures, representatives of the funds for protection of the nature, the journalists of the leading Russian and foreign media who shared their experience with us.”
Laqere who plays for Tailevu Naitasiri U18 side was selected by Fiji Football Association to be one of the young players for the F4F and she recalls the wonderful time she had in Moscow.
“It was very hard me, as it was my first trip and was asked to do alot. But luckily I’ve got a group together with me who helped with a lot of things. It was very exciting and I’m the first from my family to be able to go to Russia.
“The opening ceremony and watching the first game was a memorable experience. It was loud and joyful with everyone cheering,” Laqere told Fiji FA Media.
“The opening ceremony and the first match was my best time there, because it’s the World Cup. We watched Russia versus Saudi and it was really good. Even on the streets, there were lots of football fans singing and dancing. The Peru fans especially were the ones that really caught the eye.”
“I’ve learnt a lot about friendship and teamwork, how we need to work as a team to succeed. It was amazing sharing the experience with over 200 kids from all over the world,” said Laqere.
The Sixth season of Football for Friendship (F4F) Programme implemented by Gazprom, the Official partner of FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, concluded successfully in Moscow.
The programme, which took place from 8th-15th June 2018, brought together young football players and young journalists aged 12 years from 211 countries and regions. The young footballers were united in 32 International Teams of Friendship, and were accompanied by young journalists who were selected to report on the Football for Friendship events
Laqere was selected as the young footballer whereas Khan was selected as the young journalist in collaboration with Just for Kicks, a school intervention programme working towards developing life skills amongst children belonging to lower income families.
Speaking about the achievement of Laqere, Saraswati Manoca Primary School Head teacher, Seriama Waqalevu said, “We are delighted to have participated in the Football for Friendship Programme through our young ambassador, Elizebeth Laqere. It is our constant endeavor to use football as a tool to instill core values, break barriers and promote integration among children, which coincides with the key values endorsed by the F4F Programme.
“We are positive that she will act as ambassador of all the important lessons and fundamental human values that she have learnt in the programme and spread it among their friends and family in Fiji.
On behalf of Saraswati Manoca Primary School Management and Staff, we congratulate Laqere for her achievement.
“I strongly believe that such large-scale initiatives as Football for Friendship carry out an important mission. They support youth sports, promote values of a healthy lifestyle, teach children to respect representatives of different nationalities and cultures,”Waqalevu said.
Laqere was accompanied by grandmother Anaseini Wati while Haayan with father Moshin Khan.