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At a glance: Nigeria

Lagos corporate football teams help fight AIDS

© UNICEF Nigeria/2006/Ekpei
Players from British Airways (left) and UBA Bank (right) compete during the UNICEF-supported Special Football Cup in Lagos, Nigeria.

By Sarah Hamiduddin and Christine Jaulmes

LAGOS, Nigeria, 12 December 2006 – The hot sun beat down on the sandy pitch at Lekki British International School in Lagos as 10 football players struggled for the ball. This was no ordinary Sunday game, however – the teams were composed of staff from several  major companies competing in support of the UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign.

The UNICEF-supported Special Football Cup was the third fundraising event organized in Nigeria for the campaign.

The event aimed to create awareness of the needs of children affected by HIV, as well as help raise funds. To date, more than $50,000 has been raised by the private sector for the campaign in Nigeria.

Trophy to the winner

UNICEF staff members also came out in force. Proudly wearing yellow AIDS campaign t-shirts, they fielded a team for a novelty match.

Football superstar and UNICEF Nigeria Goodwill Ambassador Kanu Nwankwo flew to Nigeria specifically to take part in the event. He hosted a dinner for all the players and, at the end of the match, presented the trophy to the winning team – the United Bank of Africa Foundation.

“I am proud to be associated to this life-saving campaign,” Mr. Nwankwo said. “In June, I was able to see the plight and suffering of children orphaned by AIDS. These young children, whose parents died, have to fend for themselves as they have nobody to take care of them. It was a heartbreaking experience that I will never forget.”

© UNICEF Nigeria/2006/Ekpei
Players pose after a match during the Special Football Cup.

‘Partnership is crucial’

In Nigeria, an estimated about 930,000 children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Most children living with the virus do not have access to proper treatment, and very few HIV-positive pregnant women get adequate care to prevent transmission of the virus to their babies.

UNICEF Nigeria has been working in partnership with the business sector for over 10 years. The principal sponsor of the Football Cup was British Airways, with further sponsorship provided by First Inland Bank Plc., De-United Foods Industries Limited, Murphy Shipping and Commercial Services, UBA Foundation, Afrinvest West Africa, Intercontinental Bank Plc., Procter and Gamble, Standard Chartered Bank, Zenith Bank and the Dangote Group.

“Public-private sector partnership is crucial for reaching all children with paediatric care, social and psychological support, protection and prevention programmes,” said UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Ayalew Abai. “I am pleased to see these companies joining the children and AIDS campaign.”



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