The campaigns; ‘Together against the Marriage of Young Girls’ by UNICEF and ‘Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS free’ by UNAIDS form part of the Corporate Social Responsibility by the Confederation of African Football for the tournament that runs from 19 November to 3 December.
Some players who read out the messages include Christine Manie (Cameroon), Rana Hamdy (Egypt), Elizabeth Addo (Ghana), Mary Wanjiku (Kenya), Aminata Sacko (Mali), Rita Chikwelu (Nigeria), Janine Van Wyk (South Africa) and Talent Mandaza (Zimbabwe),
The response from the teams was stupendous as the players of the two teams mingled in front of the huge banner depicting the respective message to the applauds of the spectators, be it at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde or the Limbe Omnisport Stadium in Limbe.
CAFOnline.com also sampled views of some players on the two campaigns;
‘Together against the marriage of young girls’ by UNICEF
Gaelle Enganamouit (Forward, Cameroon)
Through football, women can serve as role models to young girls to whip up their aspirations, to become like global figures. By playing football, they may no longer accept going into marriage at a tender age.
Usually young girls are exposed to marriage at a very young age, because some families think being under the responsibility of a man will grant them a better future and find the happiness that their own family cannot afford or bring to them. Football can help put an end to that, where it is the source of hope and livelihood for women. Today, thanks to football, the young woman can support and provide some basic needs of her family. Football is the remedy against the marriage of young girls.
We support the “Together against Marriage of young girls” campaign and take each word of this pledge at heart. We appeal to all parents and communities to ensure their young girls are no longer victims of early and forced marriage so as to reinforce their self-confidence and emancipation.
Ngozi Okobi (Midfielder, Nigeria)
I was a bit shock when I heard some stories of early marriages. I think it needs to be stopped and women must be respected. Women are potential mothers, and should not be early mothers. I want people to see women differently than not just see children and force them into marriages. Tournaments like this will pass the message to the people involved in that and for them to see that women can do better in some fields even more than men.
Elizabeth Addo (Captain, Ghana)
As a sport, football can be used as a platform to educate and promote the campaign to prevent and curb the spread of HIV/AIDS. As players, we can help combat HIV/AIDS through practicing safe and healthy lifestyles.
Talent Mandaza (Captain, Zimbabwe)
We can combat HIV/AIDS through football by using the sport as a tool for that purpose. Football is a well followed sport throughout the world because it unites people, so players can be used to spread the information through adverts where they can highlight the risks of HIV/AIDS and its prevention. Also international football tournaments such as this can be organized with the theme of combating HIV/AIDS through football and by educating the fans who attend the matches.
I really love the theme of the tournament about HIV/AIDS and Child marriages. I believe those two things are really affecting girls in their various communities. Football is loved by many and using football to advocate the causes and prevention of HIV/AIDS is a step in the right direction. Many fans come to the stadium to watch matches and it is easier to pass a message to them. HIV/AIDS is a pandemic and has been affecting a lot of people in Africa and we can tackle it through football clinics and tournaments of this nature.
It is an amazing initiative to create awareness of HIV/AIDS at this tournament. As players we have to do our best to support the initiative to make people aware of the dangers, causes and prevention. We can also offer support through educating each other and highlight safe sex to help stop the pandemic.
Click here for the Video: UNICEF- Together against the marriage of young girls