12-year-old promising football players and 12-year-old aspiring journalists from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu will join children from 211 countries to attend the sixth annual Football For Friendship (F4F) programme, which includes participation in the FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony in Moscow on 15 June.

F4F is an annual International Children’s social programme organised by Gazprom, an international company supporting global social projects and setting new standards in social policy.

Taking place in Moscow, Russia on 8-15 June ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the aim of the programme is to promote essential values embodied by football with the younger generation such as respect for other cultures and nationalities as well as equality.

The Cook Islands will be sending one young 16-year-old coach in the place of their 12-year-old player.

The opportunity is being brought to the South Pacific region by Football For Friendship’s global football partnerships with Lengo Football Academy and its local partners, Reagan Milstein Foundation.

“Lengo Football Academy is beyond excited by this opportunity to bring the joy of football and connectedness to young people in Tanzania, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands,” said Emanuel Saakai, the founder of Lengo Football Academy.

“A highlight of the programme sees young people from all over the world attending the first game of the FIFA World Cup 2018 between Russia and Saudi Arabia. They’ll also be part of the official opening ceremony at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow,” added Saakai.

Reagan Milstein Foundation were approached by Lengo Football Academy in early 2018 to assist with putting together a large delegation from the Pacific Islands to travel to Moscow on this dream all-expenses paid trip.

“For over seven years, the Reagan Milstein Foundation has been building relationships with the Football Associations across the South Pacific. Now, Football for Friendship, through Lengo Football Academy, have thrown open the doors of opportunity for children across this vast area of the world,” said Kevin Milstein, the founder of Reagan Milstein Foundation.

The F4F programme promotes essential values embodied by football with the younger generation such as respect for other cultures and nationalities as well as equality.

Raymond Nasse

Sports Editor

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