As the excitement for the AFC Asian Cup builds, former footballers and UEFA ambassadors Clarence Seedorf and Christian Karembeu will this week arrive in Australia to support One Goal – a campaign that uses football as the catalyst to improve the nutrition of children in Asia and Australia.
The UEFA ambassadors will join One Goal partners, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Football Federation Australia (FFA) and World Vision Australia to kick off the One Goal campaign in Sydney with a three day youth football festival and advocacy forum that will discuss child malnutrition in the region.
Clarence Seedorf, UEFA Global Ambassador for Diversity and Change, said he was delighted to visit Australia for the first time in support of One Goal and during such an exciting time as the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.
“A healthy lifestyle and good nutrition is a basic right that all children deserve,” Mr Seedorf said. “I urge football fans throughout the region to support One Goal so that all children get the chance to reach their full potential.”
AFC President, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, said the popularity of football and the excitement surrounding the Asian Cup meant that One Goal had the potential to reach 1.4 billion fans throughout Asia and Australia.
“The AFC Asian Cup in Australia has been the springboard to launch One Goal to football fans across the region,” he said. “This is a unique opportunity to increase the understanding of malnutrition so we can improve the nutritional playing-field and give all children the chance to thrive not only in the sport, but also in life.”
FFA chief executive officer David Gallop said One Goal aimed to encourage grassroots and youth football activities in Asia and Australia.
“We’re working with World Vision in Australia to encourage families to support health and nutrition projects that address malnutrition in our region, but also to encourage them to improve nutrition and exercise in their own homes.”
Christian Karembeu, UEFA Captain of Change, said he was looking forward to meeting Australian football fans in support of One Goal.
“I’m proud to be part of One Goal as it allows football fans to unite in their passion for the world game and in their desire to give children the best start in life,” Mr Karembeu said.
World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello said malnutrition robbed children of the basic ingredients they needed to grow, play and learn.
“The problem of malnutrition in our region not only includes under-nutrition where children don’t receive enough healthy food to eat, but also over-nutrition where poor diet and inadequate exercise are creating a growing obesity epidemic,” Mr Costello said.
“With a collective will to act and the right interventions such as improved access to nutritious foods, sports and development programs, maternal and child health care and nutrition education we have the ability to significantly improve this devastating problem.”
More than 200 million children in the region are born each year carrying the burden of malnutrition – entering the world at a disadvantage to their international peers.
One Goal funds will support World Vision’s health and nutrition projects in Australia, Nepal, Vietnam, Mongolia and India that promote exclusive breast-feeding education, improved access to nutritious foods and sports for development programs.
To join or donate to the One Goal campaign or to register your local football club visit our website www.onegoalglobal.org. Fans can like the One Goal Asia Facebook page or follow the campaign on Twitter using the @OneGoalAsia handle.