|© UNICEF/2008/ Donovan|
|Jamal, 21, and his friend Mohamed, 21, head to the Meadowlands in New Jersey to see UNICEF partner Barcelona Football Club play against the New York Red Bulls.|
By Kate Donovan
NEW YORK, USA, 22 August 2008 – In an international friendly exhibition game, UNICEF partner Barcelona Football Club last week defeated the New York Red Bulls by a score of 6-2 before a delirious crowd.
A UNICEF employee returning from mission at the Mexico City International Conference on AIDS met a couple of Barca supporters on their own mission, as they navigated the streets of New York on their way to the Meadowlands stadium.
Easy to spot in their Barca team shirts, Jamal, 21, and his friend Mohamed, 21 (an AC Milan fan) had flown in a few hours before from Portland, Maine to cheer on the legendary team from Catalonia.
A life-long fan of the team, Jamal was as knowledgeable about the UNICEF/Barca partnership as he is about his favourite player Lionel Messi’s stats. He explained that while most clubs used the space on the shirt to promote commercial enterprises, Barca was the only team in the world that dedicated its shirt to an organization.
"It is a good partnership, and they are creating history," he said.
Born in Somalia, Jamal is a student of international business and wants to take what he is learning, "to help developing countries, especially in Africa."
The UNICEF/Barcelona FC partnership began in September 2006 and will extend over five years. The aim is to raise awareness and funds to benefit children affected by HIV and AIDS. Every year for five years, the club will donate €1.5 million per year over five years to help fund projects aimed at combating HIV and AIDS in Africa and Latin America.
FC Barcelona and UNICEF
FC Barcelona Foundation website
(external link, opens in a new window)