Football and Society (Part 5)

Part V

This is the final entry to my blog and I am dedicating it to some of the good that has been done through football and the good football continues to do. I will begin with the obvious, football is great for your physical health. I played football all throughout my youth and along with many other alike it was part of my daily routine. I find that advancements in technology are hindering young people’s desire to play sports now, and more and more youth football teams are disappearing in my area. I think that this lack of availability of football will inevitably affect the physical health of today’s youth. It is not just a person’s physical health football can affect though. There are many charities set up around the world with the aim of encouraging under privileged people to get into the game in order to teach them some of life’s key skills, as well as bring a little more enjoyment into their lives. From my experience, some of the key skills football can teach are teamwork, discipline, ambition, responsibility, modesty, communication and compassion. There are thousands of charities connected to football all over the world, which take advantage of its power over society. One such charity is The Didier Drogba Society, which is dedicated to improving the living conditions of people all over the Ivory Coast, gaining global recognition due to its link with its namesake, professional footballer Didier Drogba. This charity has received, and continues to receive, donations to its causes, which are noble to say the least. It has already helped in numerous ways like setting up a hospital, supplying a young girl with leukaemia treatment and setting up structures such as the Red Cross and orphanages. Other charities like KitAid have been set up with the purpose of getting football fans to donate their so called ‘old kits’ to those in need in Africa. These so called old kits may be considered old to a football fan on our side of the world but a shirt that only gets worn maybe once a week for less than a year and then is never used again is certainly not old to those in need. The power of football and its influence in our culture extends beyond that of charitable work however, it has also has a surprising effect on politics. One such example is when in 1967, Brazilian footballer Pele came to Nigeria, at which time was in the middle of a civil war. Whilst there, he inadvertently caused an agreement to a 48 hour cease fire, in order for both sides to enjoy watching him play (in Nigeria’s most populated city!). This wasn’t the last time a football player would stop a war, believe it or not. Again, Didier Drogba is involved. In 2005 there was an ongoing civil war in the Ivory Coast, and using the influence and respect he had earned through his footballing exploits in the country, Drogba was able successfully end the civil war simply by asking for it. It was mere moments after Drogba had led his side to successful qualification for the World Cup that he asked all members on both sides of the war to lay down their arms, and in less than a week his plea was heard and subsequently granted.

Ultimately, I believe this Blog displays the magnitude of football’s effect on our culture, and when this effect is employed in the right way it has a wide spectrum full of potential to better all of our lives.

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