“Play with people regardless of their religion, nationality or culture” says Mohammad, 13-year-old Pakistani Football for Friendship’s player
Gazprom's international children's social programme Football for Friendship (F4F) gathers young players and journalists from around the world to participate in a range of events that aim to bring cultures together to promote fundamental values. Euronews met some of the young talents at the 2019 edition in Madrid.
Mohammad Yusuf is a 14-year-old boy from Pakistan. He said taking part in the initiative is a "beyond-special" experience.
"I have been playing Football since my very early days, I love it."
The young athlete is participating for the third time in Gazprom’s F4F. His first year took place in St Petersburg in 2017, where he participated as an Ambassador. He went to Moscow the next year as a Young Coach, and this year he is in Madrid, again as a Young Coach.
The F4F roles are all geared towards promoting universal human values such as friendship, equality and fairness.
What’s your favourite thing about Football for Friendship?
"This event will help people make friends, it’s great, it’s awesome: I have been making friends for three years now, all of them from different countries," Mohammad said.
What makes a good friend?
"A good friend is someone who helps you, who supports you, he’s always at your back, that’s a good friend. And I have found many friends here."
What is it like to play football with people from all around the world?
"Having unity and being devoted to a task together is great… It’s great, like, you play with people regardless of their religion, nationality or culture, and that’s great," he said.
Mohammad has become a dedicated ambassador of Gazprom's initiative.
"Football for friendship made me who I am today," he said proudly.
The size and scope of F4F projects are vast, with hundreds of children participating from around the world and many coming from countries and regions with precarious security situations.