Friday, May 25, 2007
Chelsea never cease to amaze me.
I may not be a Blues fan, but they're making it hard to hate them. They knock my team out of the Champions League, have the most annoying manager in the sport and bore me to tears at times. But man, they sure know how to bring me back into the fold.
Chelsea announced today they're off to Africa for their first humanitarian visit with their Global Charity Partner, Right To Play.
Manager José Mourinho (pictured above), Chelsea FC Player of the Year and Ghanaian international Michael Essien and several young players will be in Ghana from May 29 until June 3 to visit projects run by Right To Play.
So who is Right To Play? According to their website, they're 'an athlete-driven international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play as a tool for the development of children and youth in the most disadvantaged areas of the world. Right To Play is committed to improving the lives of these children and to strengthening their communities by translating the best practices of sport and play into opportunities to promote development, health and peace.
The visit is the first major initiative in the six-year partnership announced between Chelsea and Right To Play in January 2007. Chelsea will also be bringing several coaches on the trip, headed by Academy manager Neil Bath.
Chelsea will be conducting play sessions for children in Accra and Tamale as well as holding coaching demonstrations for the Right To Play coaches who are integral to the charity's purpose of raising awareness about disease, war and poverty through sport.
Mourinho said: 'Everyone at the club is fully behind the work of Right To Play and we are all proud to support them. I'm sure our relationship will benefit thousands of kids throughout the world, starting with this visit to Ghana.
'Sport, particularly football, has a certain power. It is a world language, something where cultural difference does not matter. If you are in London, Lisbon or Accra, if you put down two pieces of clothing for a goal and wrap some paper into a ball and start to kick it, everyone knows what you are doing, there is no need to explain it.
'Because it is the world language you can reach everybody and if you have a big status in the game you have a big responsibility to use that power properly. And what better way to use it than for kids around the world to be healthier, fitter, fight disease, war, poverty. Football can and should help with this. It also reminds you that there are more important things than football.'
I'm very happy Chelsea's doing this work. It shows the human side of football, that it's not all about money, fame and arrogance. As Mourhino said, it's got a power to it, a language that everyone can speak.
It makes me proud to be a football fan. Keep up the good work, Blues.
We're coming up on the 6th-month anniversary of this blog. So where am I on the Road to the World Cup?
Not very far!
I've saved up some money from working two jobs, but I'm not sure how far that'll take me.
I'm not pouring as much time into the blog as I'd like, because I'm exhausted most days.
I think in time I'll be able to bear the fruits of productive labor, though. So I say the Road to the Cup will only get easier ... I've certainly learned a lot about football, African football in particular.
And I've seen the good & bad sides of the game, how it can help as in the entry above, or harm, when riots break out or the game is used as a tool for propaganda.
I'm still deeply in love with the game. I think this devotion will carry me to Africa and the World Cup. Of course, some hard work will be required. But the work will pay off. One way or another.