mandelaGrassroot Soccer participants will have a role to play in an important football match being played at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa on July 18th. The “90 Minutes For Mandela” match, organized by FIFA together with the South African Football Association (SAFA), the South African Local Organising Committee (SALOC), the Nelson Mandela Foundation and FIFPro (the international federation of professional football players), will be held on Nelson Mandela’s 89th birthday and brings together a group of All-Star players from around the world, including Pele and Samuel Eto’o.
Grassroot Soccer has been asked by FIFA to identify youth that can serve as player escorts for the match. 25 youth from the townships of Cape Town and Port Elizabeth that participate in Grassroot Soccer’s HIV/AIDS prevention and life skills programs will get the chance to escort their heroes out onto the field in front of a worldwide television audience. Grassroot Soccer’s Managing Director Kirk Friedrich says: “It will be a big thrill for the youth and we are overjoyed with the opportunity to provide them with this kind of experience. We are thankful to FIFA for their continued faith and support of our programs.”

Grassroot Soccer’s contribution to this match falls within the framework of their participation in the Football For Hope Movement. The Football For Hope Movement is a key element of the strategic alliance between FIFA and streetfootballworld. The objective of the Football For Hope Movement is to support and establish a quality seal for sustainable social and human development programs focusing on football as the central tool in the areas of health promotion, peace building, anti-discrimination and social integration, children’s rights and education, as well as environment, and by doing so, supporting best practices in the field. Grassroot Soccer has been recognized by Football For Hope as a best practice organization in the field of fighting HIV/AIDS through football, and receives support for two projects within the Football for Hope Movement.