Thoughts on what FUNDaFIELD brings to Uganda.
As FUNDaFIELD continues with its vision and mission for Africa, it is clear why sport is such an important part of bringing communities together here in Uganda. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world with over 3.5 billion fans worldwide.
The fan frenzy is also a reflection of a second, more subtle reality: the critical role soccer plays within African society. In the United States, Europe, and other developed nations, the game exists somewhere between sport and big business. But in Africa, a continent rife with factionalism and hostility, soccer remains a potent symbol of hope and healing. The miracle of the game lies in its simplicity -- it is cheap, easy to play, and the rules are plain to follow. When a ball is kicked, ethnic differences, politics and hatred just melt away.
Soccer instils a sense of unity to the players, youths and community at large. The message is simple: If they don't play together, they won't score goals. FUNDaFIELD uses soccer to deliver a simple message to the nation of Uganda: Citizens must work together and put aside old differences so the country can progress.
The game requires teams to rise above ethnic tensions in Uganda caused by the Kony war. The FUNDaFIELD tournaments teach players soccer is a game and not a battleground. They must learn to rise above ethnic tensions and play as a team. Can they? We believe that by the time the credits roll, unity will be gripped. And, our mission will be to have this unity live on such that in the future, different tribes and religions are able and continue to meet in school, church, and mosque discussion groups tackling complex agendas, such as sexual exploitation and AIDS awareness, inspired by these FUNDaFIELD tournaments.