By Emmanuella Anokam
Russian and African football legends are to feature in a gala match at the Gazprom Arena, St. Petersburg, Russia, as a side event organised by the Russian Football Union (RFU) during the Russia-Africa Summit 2023.
Anton Kobyakov, Advisor to the president of the Russian Federation and Executive Secretary of the organising committee of the events for Russia–Africa 2023 Summit, said this in a statement released on Friday in St. Petersburg.
He said teams from Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali as well as school teams would participate in the Russia–Africa international football tournament.
He explained that the sports programme would also feature a diplomats’ match, where employees from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and African embassies will compete.
The events are supported by the general partners of the Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum: Gazprom, Gazprombank, Rosatom, Uralchem, and Uralkali.
Rosseti is strategic partner of the event; Lukoil, partner; while Novatek and Sberbank are national partners. Other partners are: Avtovaz, African Export-Import Bank and Russian Export Centre.
“Uniting people is one of the fundamental missions of sport, and it should remain so regardless of the situation in the world.
“With the support of Roscongress, the forum will serve as a platform for the presentation of the World Friendship Games and other sports projects.
“This will create fresh opportunities for engaging in dialogue with counterparts from African countries, including sports ministries, Olympic committees and sports federations,” said Kobyakov.
According to him, the Second Russia–Africa Summit and Economic and Humanitarian Forum, which will take place on July 27 to 28 in St. Petersburg will provide a platform to enhance international communications in sport.
He added that a rich sports programme had been prepared for the participants. “On July 27 at 9.00 a.m., a session titled, ‘Sport: A Bridge of Friendship between Russia and Africa,’ will be held.”
He said the session would feature Russian minister of sport, Oleg Matytsin, president of the International Boxing Association, Umar Kremlev, president of the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation, Irina Viner, and president of the Russian Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov.
He also said the ministers of sport and heads of National Olympic Committees from African countries would participate in the event.
He stated that the World Friendship Games, which Russia would host in September 2024, would be showcased at the forum’s pavilion commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Ministry of Sport.
“The Russian Olympic Committee is set to sign cooperation agreements with counterparts from the National Olympic Committees of Mali, Namibia and Eswatini.
“Three-time Olympic synchronised swimming champion, Svetlana Kolesnichenko, will lead the warm-up session for participants at the ‘We Are Starting’ race, marking the opening of the forum’s first day.
“The race is scheduled to commence at 6.30 a.m. in Primorsky Victory Park,” said Kobyakov.
He said participants could register for the event in their personal accounts.
He added that the race was the third in the ‘Time to Act’ series, an initiative of RC Sport, the sports platform of the Roscongress Foundation, and the League of Heroes, with the support of the Ministry of Sport. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Salif Atojoko