First Tournament of Play Soccer Make Peace! in Nigeria
The PSMP! started in July 2004 in Nigeria, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In September 2004, there were tournaments in Zambia, Solomon Islands, Liberia, Estonia, Mongolia and Guyana. October 2004 saw the programme organised in Cameroon and Senegal. In November 2004, India, Kenya and Palau had their tournaments. In December 2004, the programme was organised in Israel, Gaza and Philippines. The next year, the programme expanded to Papua New Guinea (January), Seychelles (February), Peru, Cambodia and Pakistan (March), Indonesia, Nepal, Uganda, Albania, Ukraine, Benin, Jordan and Marshall Islands (April), and Angola (May). Since then, it has been
The site of the first tournament launching the Play Soccer Make Peace! initiative was Kaduna, Nigeria. Under the key leadership of Mohammed Attah, WANGO National Representative in Nigeria, and in a remarkably short period of time, eight soccer teams were selected and all the details for the tournament were finalized— the stadium, referees, nurses, security, publicity, programs, and so forth. The tournament was held July 6- 11, 2004. All of the competitors agreed to fundamental principles of good sportsmanship.
Mr. Taj Hamad, Secretary General of WANGO, was present on the final day of the tournament. He greeted all the teams, the community officials and tournament volunteers and organizers and gave an address to launch the Play Soccer Make Peace! soccer project. He strove to inspire all to the higher ideals for which they were gathering and to the development of individual character as the basis for building healthy families, good societies and peaceful nations and world.
The final matches were exciting, with each of the teams playing their best before enthusiastic spectators. In addition to the eight competitors, two girls teams played a demonstration match. All of the teams gave good effort, were proud of their participation in the Play Soccer Make Peace! tournament, and received monetary awards to help develop soccer in their communities.
Rev. Jean Augustin Ghomsi is Assistant Secretary General of Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Africa in charge of Southern Africa