On World Children’s Day Turkmenistan children participate in national team’s football match

22 November 2019

At the FIFA World Cup Qualifying match between Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka in Ashgabat earlier this week, children accompanied players onto the field to mark World Children’s Day and the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Twenty-two girls and boys, including children with disabilities, had an opportunity to greet football players and around 26,000 football fans who attended the match. A special congratulatory announcement was made on World Children’s Day, and dedicated UNICEF banners were placed for free on the sidelines of the field, congratulating all children in Turkmenistan on this occasion.  

“This is my first time at the stadium. I saw a lot of cheerful people and I am sharing the joy with them,” said Mahek Ayazova, an eight-year-old girl with a Down Syndrome.

“I was standing first in line with a football player. He held my hand. I want to become a player like him,” said Vlad Abaseyev, 6.

UNICEF partnered with the Football Federation of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Sports and Youth Policy to carry out this initiative aimed at highlighting the power of sports in uniting for child rights. Earlier this year, a children’s football festival was organized by the Football Federation of Turkmenistan with the support of UNICEF for about 300 children from 6 to 12 years from all regions of Turkmenistan, including children with disabilities, during Asian Football Confederation Grassroots Football Day 2019.

“We are delighted to partner with the Football Federation of Turkmenistan in advancing children’s development through sports and look forward to expanding our partnership with the Federation in the future,” said Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan.

Media contacts

Mahriban Mullabayeva
Communication Officer
UNICEF in Turkmenistan
Tel: +993 12 488355


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