1Goal to educate millions

Johannesburg - About 70 million children world-wide will get an opportunity to get education through the FIFA 1Goal campaign, said ambassador Anthony Baffoe of Ghana on Saturday.

One of these children was Ghanaian Stephen Odai, who was given an opportunity to watch Ghana play against Uruguay on Friday.

"My policy has always been combining football with education, 1Goal helps these kids to start their life," said Baffoe, who was at a media briefing at Soccer City in Nasrec.

He said that 18-year-old Odai was the classical example of how education can open doors for young people.

"Twelve million people have signed up to support 1Goal - that makes this the biggest campaign for education in history. Football is helping make something very special happen," said Baffoe.

Odai, who used to pay his own school fees by selling alcohol, said he was grateful about the opportunity that 1Goal has given him.

"I come from a poor family. My uncles and parents could not afford to buy me food and take me to school because they do not work."

"1Goal has helped me financially and I believe that my life is going to be successful," he said.

After the end of the World Cup, Odai will launch his career as a professional footballer after he signed with Ghanaian league team, Liberty Professionals.

Odai, who is one of six siblings, said that 1Goal has given his family hope that he will be one the top soccer stars in Ghana.

The young man from Osu in Accra said he receives pocket money from one of 1Goal's associates and that this would help him become of the few educated Ghanain soccer stars.

"I am happy that 1Goal is telling the world about my story as I believe it can help some one else," he said.

Baffoe and other 1Goal ambassadors called on leaders to support President Jacob Zuma's Education Summit in Pretoria on July 11.

At the Summit, heads of state will be asked to pledge their support the initiative by commiting to fund it.

Launched by Queen Rania of Jordan in August last year, the campaign is co-chaired by FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Nobel prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

It aims to secure schooling for some 72 million children who cannot read or write, in accordance with the Millennium Goal Promise of education for all by 2015.

Zuma and UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon are among prominent world leaders who support the initiative.

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