26 July 2004
FIFA President Blatter in Peruvian SOS Children's Village
Jay-Jay Okocha new "FIFA for SOS Children's Villages" Ambassador
27/07/2004 - On a trip through three continents, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter also made a stop at SOS Children's Village Zárate in Lima, the Peruvian capital. More news from the "FIFA for SOS Children's Villages" partnership: world class Nigerian player Jay-Jay Okocha has agreed to become ambassador for his country.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has finished a three week trip through contrasting countries on three continents. The final stop of this trip, just before the final of the Copa América between Argentina and Brazil was SOS Children's Village Zárate in Peru, where the residents had a chance to greet FIFA's highest representative on 24 July.
Mr. Blatter was accompanied by Nicolas Leoz, president of CONMEBOL (the South American Association), Manuel Burga, president of Peru's football association as well as CONMEBOL board members and numerous other guests and representatives of the media.
The whole visit took place in an atmosphere of special friendliness. The FIFA President visited a family house and took part in a photo shoot together with mothers and children. The speeches were used by FIFA and SOS Children's Villages to underline the importance for the needs, interests and wishes of children of both the "FIFA for SOS Children's Villages" partnership and FIFA's sharing social responsibility.
SOS Children's Village Zárate has been serving children for 29 years, exactly as long as Joseph S. Blatter has been serving FIFA, the association's president said. The national colours of Peru and Switzerland are identical, added Blatter, and he was proud that Swiss donors had made an essential contribution to the construction of this village. Furthermore, he expressed his hope that his own personal commitment to SOS Children's Village would also spur on all the football associations in Latin America to start cooperation on a national level.
In his role as FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter has been supporting the partnership between the world football association and SOS Children's Villages for many years - a partnership that was set up by his predecessor João Havelange and SOS Children's Village President Helmut Kutin. Blatter has met SOS Children's Village children on many different occasions, such as, for example, in Vietnam, Namibia and Mali and on a visit to SOS Children's Village Luque in Paraguay.
The long list of "FIFA for SOS Children's Villages" ambassadors is now one name richer: Jay-Jay Okocha, a key player in the Nigerian national team for many years, with whom he won such honours as the 1994 African Nations Cup and 1996 Olympics, has declared himself ready to take on the role of ambassador for SOS Children's Villages and children in need in his home land.
Jay-Jay Okocha is an idol in Nigeria and has recently been named one of the world's best 100 footballers (one of five African players), as chosen for FIFA by Brazil legend Pelé. On top of this, he was chosen by the BBC in 2004 as African Footballer of the Year and best player in the African Nations Cup. Since 2002, Jay-Jay has been playing in the English Premiership for Bolton Wanderers.
The future FIFA/SOS ambassador made a "private visit" to Nigerian SOS Children's Village Isolo, together with his family and will shortly be named ambassador in an official ceremony.