|© UNICEF Equatorial Guinea/2008/ Benlloch|
|Captain of the national male football team Rodolfo Bodipo Díaz and coach Vicente Engonga Mate at the launch of the 'Sports and Peace' Initiative.|
By Isabel Benlloch
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, 18 December 2008 - A new initiative called ‘Sports and Peace’ was launched in Equatorial Guinea during a special football match at the Stadium of Malabo in September.
Through this partnership between the Government and UNICEF, children and their teachers are being trained to become ‘Ambassadors of Tolerance’ to promote a culture of citizenship, dialogue and peace through sports.
Cornelio Esono Nsue, 14, has been playing football since the age of seven. During the match, he was excited to be surrounded by players from Nzalang, the national male football team. Cornelio is more motivated than ever to become one of them.
A voice to improve children's lives
Cornelio says he wants to be an “Ambassador amongst his colleagues and encourage them to do more sports, pushing aside bad habits and growing with values such as justice, tolerance and respect.”
|© UNICEF EquatorialGuinea/2008/ Benlloch|
|Young football players during the ‘Sports and Peace’ initiative launch at the Stadium of Malabo.|
Captain of the national male football team Rodolfo Bodipo Díaz was on hand as a role model for hundreds of children. Mr. Díaz said he did not want to miss the opportunity to join the event and become a voice to help improve the lives of children.
Coach of the national male team Vicente Engonga Mate is clear about the fact that children in this country are motivated to take part in initiatives which promote peace.
The presence of girls and women is essential to promote equality and peace, and the initiative did not miss the opportunity to lead the next female African Nations Cup which will take place in November in Equatorial Guinea.
A healthy alternative
Sports provide a healthy alternative to engaging in harmful activities such as drug use and risky sexual behaviours.
The Captain of the female national team, Mirei Sinforosa Eyang, noted that when she is in the middle of the field, she is aware that she is there to play a good and a clean game and promote positive values.
The goal of ‘Sports and Peace’ is to spread a message of positive behaviour change in young people through sports.