Monrovia will host the first “City for Peace” project on the African continent. This comes after the official announcement by global diplomatic sports movement, Football for Peace (FfP), on July 28, 2018, at a press conference in Paynesville.
“City for Peace” is an educational program that uses football to connect young people from different faiths, cultures, and backgrounds and get them to communicate, play together, learn to confront stereotypes, and better understand one another.
Following the announcement that the project will be launched in Liberia, as endorsed by President George Weah, several ex-football players have welcomed the pronouncement, and pledged to support the project. This follows a tweet on the official twitter page of FfP.
“Football legend and President of Liberia George Weah, is getting behind FfP on the African Continent, and announces his role to support Monrovia as the first City to host the event,” FfP tweeted.
The tweet was retweeted by ex-France internationals Louis Saha, Marcel Disailly, Ivorian football legend Didier Drogba, and 44 others former soccer stars.
Saha rewetted, “Well done FfP. You went to Africa to my football idol Mister George Weah, now President George. You know I am with you on this. Respect!”
Born August 8, 1978, Saha was capped 20 times for the France national team, and scored four goals. A former scholar at the Clairefontaine Football Academy, he started his career at Metz before playing on loan at Newcastle United. Before the start of the 2000–01 season, Saha moved to Fulham where he established himself as first-choice striker, helping the team to gain promotion to the Premier League in his first season with them.
Saha’s performances gained attraction from Manchester United, who eventually secured his signing for around £12.4 million midway through the 2003–04 season where he won the Priemere League twice and the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League.
He subsequently played for Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland, and Lazio.
Saha made his France debut in 2004 in a 2–0 victory over Belgium. He represented France at UEFA Euro 2004, and the 2006 FIFA World Cup in which they reached the final.
FfP as a global sports movement has several active and former football celebrities as ambassadors that will come to Liberia in November for the official launch of the project.
The Monrovia “City for Peace” project has also been welcomed by an Iranian-American former wrestler, wrestling coach, and sports diplomat Hooman Tavakolian.
Tavakolian became knowledgeable about the project after he read an article headlined: Football for Peace to be Launched in Liberia, published by Daily Observer Sports Desk on July 25, 2018.
“Reading about FfP launching in Liberia-what an incredible initiative. All other sports should follow these footsteps. This can create dialogue between most conflicted nations, groups, tribes and divided societies,” the former wrestler tweeted.
Born as Mohammad Ali Tavakolian in Tehran, Iran, September 17, 1976, the Sports Diplomat has been nominated for the “Diplomatic Action of the Year” Award for his efforts to bring together the Islamic Republic of Iran Wrestling Federation, and the USA Wrestling Federation through the 2017 Wrestling World Cup, according to the Peace and Sport Federation. Tavakolian is a 2017 National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and Museum inductee, and also a Chief Compliance Officer at Cyrus Capital Partners, and Vice President of the New York Athletic Club Wrestling Club.
Hooman launched Tavak Partners, a global strategic consulting firm that collaborates with government entities and non-government entities in bridging gaps between nations through sports. This has been very effective with Iran, Brazil, Bulgaria, Romania, and various international non-for-profit organizations. Through this entity, he also started a wrestling outreach program where he donates wrestling gear to kids in need around the world by providing student-athletes a path and mentoring them; a failure is never an option. He works closely with the State Department and non-government organizations to promote and advocate gender equality in sports and Wrestling diplomacy, according to Beat the Street website.
Monrovia was chosen as the first “City for Peace,” the rites of passage for the African Continent, because of the historical feat of Liberia, according to FfP Africa Lead, Lebongang Chaka.