Youngsters take PNG to Russia


By Martha Deruage
AS footballers travel to Russia for the Fifa World Cup, there is an international children’s social programme called the Football for Friendship (F4F) underway in Moscow.
It is being attended by children from 211 regions and countries, including Papua New Guinea.
Representing PNG are Justus Joseph and Bethany Pakakota — both 12 years old.
The young ambassadors left for Moscow on Friday accompanied by PNG Footfall Association’s Leo Jakanduo for the 10-day trip.
Also undertaking the trip is teacher Clarence Hukahu.
Prior to departing Pakakota, from East Sepik, told The National that she had been preparing for the programme, and was eager to meet other youngsters in Moscow.
“I am excited about the trip,” Pakakota said.
“I think the challenging bit will be doing the actual reporting.
“The other thing I am a little worried about is meeting other children whose first language is not English.
“But I hope that will not be a problem, so that I can make new friends and learn more about other children from other countries.”
Pakakota is in Grade 7 at the St Joseph’s International Catholic College. Joseph is a Grade 6 student at the Koroboro International School.
Midfielder Joseph competes in the Port Moresby schools soccer challenge and is from Central, New Ireland and Morobe.
Joseph said he was looking forward to representing the country in the sixth season of the programme in Moscow.
A young player or coach and a journalist will represent their country as ambassadors and participate in a number of activities, including a three-day International friendship camp, F4F world cup championship and the international football for friendship forum where they will discuss ways to promote the programmer’s key values across the globe.
Established in 2013, the key value of the programme include friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions and honour.
The programme aims to develop youth football, and promote healthy lifestyles, tolerance, open-mindedness and friendship.
The programme is supported by Fifa, Uefa, Olympic and Paralympic committee, football federations, children’s foundation, famous athletes and journalist around the globe.
The PNG delegation returns on Sunday.

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