Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thuram Speaks Out Against Violence


Football gives otherwise ordinary men the platform to voice their opinions.
Some come off as goofy while others come off as strong, even intelligent.

France and Barcelona defender Lilian Thuram is a well-spoken athlete with a lot to say. Recently, the French international urged youths to shun violence on his recent tour of West Africa as a United Nations goodwill ambassador.

Thuram visited Guinea before moving to Sierra Leone and visiting Liberia on Monday.

The stalwart defender told a jam-packed hall in Freetown that youths should reject violence and work harder to improve their lives and society.

"I want the youths to ask themselves what they are doing for the society and not what the society does for them," he said.

"When things go wrong in the society, the youths should ask themselves what role should they play to solve the problem.

"Now that Sierra Leone is having elections, the youths should know that they should behave well and make sure that they keep themselves away from violence.

"As a footballer I've found out that you have to rely on yourself and your own efforts to be successful in life.

"I rely on my own efforts greatly and that has made me what I am today, so I want the young people to rely on their own efforts to succeed in life."

Sierra Leone's Minister of Youth and Sport Doctor Dennis Bright thanked Thuram for his message.

"I think Thuram has brought the right message to the youths and I want the youths to listen to his advice," he said.

Alusine Fofanah, one of the youngsters listening to Thuram, said he would be following the football star's advice.

"I think Thuram is a good example and he's worth listening to," Fofanah told BBC Sport.

"It's true that we young people always engage in violence particularly in the build-up to elections this year in Sierra Leone.

"Let us take heed of his advice and I believe it will benefit us and the country as a whole."

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