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African Legend Didier Drogba appointed World Health Organization Ambassador for Sports and Health

Football legend Didier Drogba was today announced as the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Sport and Health. Drogba, from Côte d’Ivoire, will support WHO to promote the Organization’s guidance on the benefits of physical activity and other healthy lifestyles and highlight the value of sports, particularly for youth.

Mr. Drogba, well known for his football career at Chelsea and as a two-time African Footballer of the Year (2006 and 2009), has a long track record of participating in various health campaigns such as healthy lifestyles, anti-malaria, and HIV prevention and control.

“I am honoured to team up with the World Health Organization and support its work to help people reach the highest level of health possible, especially young people in all countries,” said Mr Drogba during his ambassadorship announcement event at WHO’s Geneva headquarters. “I have benefited first hand from the power of sports to lead a healthy life and I am committed to working with WHO to share such gains worldwide.”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, hailed Mr Drogba as not only a football legend but a dedicated advocate for the health and sustainable development of communities and added that his support for WHO can help curb the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) through the promotion of healthy lifestyles, including the benefits of physical activity and sports for all people.

“Didier is a proven champion and game-changer both on and off the pitch,” said Dr Tedros. “We are pleased to have him playing on our team, and helping communities worldwide reach and score goals through sports for their physical and mental health and well-being. He will also support the mobilization of the international community to promote sports as an essential means for improving the physical, mental health, and social well-being of all people, including in helping COVID-19 recovery efforts.”

I am honoured to team up with the World Health Organization and support its work to help people reach the highest level of health possible, especially young people in all countries

Current global estimates show four in five adolescents, and one in four adults, do not do enough physical activity. Increased physical inactivity also negatively impacts health systems, the environment, economic development, community well-being, and quality of life. Regular physical activity, including through sports, helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various types of cancer (including breast cancer and colon cancer).

Mr Drogba’s announcement as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador was made during a ceremony to launch the “Healthy 2022 World Cup – Creating Legacy for Sport and Health” partnership between Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health and its Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, WHO and world football’s governing body, FIFA.

Mr Drogba joins other WHO ambassadors including champion Brazilian footballer Alisson Becker; Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of the City of New York; Cynthia Germanotta, President of the Born This Way Foundation; and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Biography – Mr Didier Drogba, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Sports and Health

Didier Drogba is an Ivorian retired professional footballer. He is best known for his career at Chelsea, for whom he has scored more goals than any other foreign player and the club’s fourth highest goal scorer of all time. Drogba was also named “African Footballer of the Year” twice, winning the accolade in 2006 and 2009. His leadership was outstanding when the Ivorian football team had their best run between 2006 and 2014 when they qualified for three consecutive FIFA Word Cups.

Off the pitch, in 2007, Drogba established the Didier Drogba Foundation to support economic development initiatives to improve the living conditions of vulnerable communities. He is also a former UNDP Goodwill Ambassador focusing on development issues in Africa from January 2007 to April 2021 and Afrijapan’s advocacy initiatives in the framework of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

In his role, Drogba will amplify and spread WHO’s guidance and public health messages to practice physical activity, adopt healthy lifestyles, and highlight the value of sports as a source of life skills, particularly to the youth. Drogba has a long track participating in various health campaigns such as healthy lifestyles, anti-malaria and HIV.

Mr Drogba was officially appointed as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Sports and Health on 18 October 2021

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NewsReportSports

Sports News: Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare Pledges Support To Ridwan ‘Scorpion’ over title defense

 The minister of youth and sports, Sunday Dare has pledged to support the current World Boxing Federations (WBF) Super Featherweight Champion, Ridwan ‘Scorpion’ Oyekola in his quest to defend his title against an opponent from Georgia, Giorgi Gogatishvili.

The minister made the call while hosting the boxing champion and his crew at his Ibadan residence over the weekend where he described the feat achieved by Oyekola as a commendable one that required every encouragement from all and sundry.

Dare in his remarks pledged the total support of his office in making the WBF belt’s title defense a reality despite the limited time constraints, as the boxer was supposed to have defended the belt since the middle of this year.

“This administration placed a huge premium on youth’s capacity development and the success achieved by Scorpion has gone a long way to prove the extent our athletes can go if given necessary support and encouragement”, said the Minister.

He added that “We are going to support you to successfully defend this world boxing title. We are going to appeal to individuals and bodies on your behalf that could assist in achieving that”.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Core Afrique Boxing Promotion (COABOX), Sola Ayodele who doubles as the manager of Oyekola while responding to the Minister explained challenges faced before winning the title and challenges they are facing defending it.

 

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AfricaPolitics

POLITICS: Thousands of Sudanese protesters demand military coup as crisis deepens

Hundreds of pro-military Sudanese protesters rallied for a second day Sunday, aggravating what Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok called the “worst and most dangerous crisis” of the country’s precarious transition.

The protesters rallying in Khartoum are demanding the dissolution of Sudan’s post-dictatorship interim government, saying it has “failed” them politically and economically.

“The sit-in continues, we will not leave until the government is dismissed,” Ali Askouri, one of the organisers, told AFP.

The protests come as Sudanese politics reels from divisions among the factions steering the rocky transition from three decades of iron-fisted rule by Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir was ousted by the army in April 2019 in the face of mass protests driven by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), a civilian alliance that became a key plank of the transition.

The latest demonstrations, left undisturbed by security forces, have been organised by a splinter faction of the FFC. Critics allege that these protests are being driven by members of the military and security forces, and involve counter-revolutionary sympathizers with the former regime.

The protesters have converged on the presidential palace where the transitional authorities are based, shouting “One army, one people” and demanding “a military government”.

Poverty-stricken Sudan has undergone dramatic changes since the ouster of Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, where a conflict that began in 2003 killed 300,000 people.

The United States removed Sudan from its state sponsors of terrorism blacklist in December 2020, eliminating a major hurdle to much-needed aid and investment.

– ‘Scenario of a coup’ –

But domestic support for the transitional government has waned in recent months amid a tough package of IMF-backed economic reforms, including the slashing of fuel subsidies and a managed float of the Sudanese pound.

The latest developments come after the government said on September 21 it had thwarted a coup attempt which it blamed on both military officers and civilians linked to Bashir’s regime.

On Friday, Hamdok warned that the transition is facing its “worst and most dangerous” crisis.

Hamdok’s Minister of Finance Jibril Ibrahim on Saturday addressed the crowd demanding the resignation of the government.

The mainstream faction of the FFC said the crisis “is engineered by some parties to overthrow the revolutionary forces… paving the way for the return of remnants of the previous regime”.

Jaafar Hassan, the spokesman for the FFC, called the pro-military sit-in “an episode in the scenario of a coup d’etat”.

Its aim, he told AFP, was “to block the road to democracy because the participants in this sit-in are supporters of the former regime and foreign parties whose interests have been affected by the revolution”.

The demonstration heightens tensions ahead of a rival rally planned for Thursday by the opposite side, to demand a full transfer of power to civilians.

Hassan said the FFC organisers aim for “a demonstration of one million people … to show the world the position of the Sudanese people”.

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AfricaNewsPolitics

POLITICS: Ex-Ivory Coast president Gbagbo launches new party in Abidjan

Laurent Gbagbo, with a decade-long exile behind him, this weekend embarks on a path he hopes will return him to Ivory Coast’s presidency at the helm of a new party as reported by Africanews.

“This is the grand return of Laurent Gbagbo to the political scene,” his spokesman Justin Kone Katinan told AFP ahead of the launch.

Gbagbo will oversee the new party’s congress on Saturday and Sunday as he seeks to “reunite the left” and use the occasion as a springboard to the 2025 presidential election.

The 76-year-old, whose 2000-2011 rule was marked by turbulence and division in the world’s biggest cocoa producer, has been very visible since returning to his homeland on June 17.

He was removed from office in April 2011 after a short civil war that claimed 3,000 lives, sparked by his refusal to accept electoral defeat by current President Alassane Ouattara.

Gbagbo was then flown to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity resulting from the conflict but eventually acquitted.

He has occupied himself by visiting former president and also rival Henri Konan Bedie, held “reconciliation” talks with Ouattara but has fallen out for good with his former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who heads a faction of his former Ivorian Popular Front (FPI).

Leaving the FPI behind, Gbagbo now expects around 1,600 delegates will show support at the congress hosted at Abidjan’s prestigious Hotel Ivoire where his new “African People’s Party – Cote d’Ivoire” (PPA-CI) will look to draw up a manifesto.

The mooted party logo comprises two intertwined hands clasping a map of Africa with the accent on a Pan-African dimension.

Indeed one of the major congress themes will be African sovereignty in the face of the abiding influence of Western powers.

The new party hopes to reshape domestic debate in a country where the opposition has become increasingly hollowed out over the past decade.

“We want to constitute a normal opposition party which brings a critique” to the table to enable “debate to leave violence behind and become essentially political,” says Kone Katinan.

“We are waiting to see if this will be a real opposition or a party seeking power. We shall see how they go about things, what will be their alternative programme,” notes political analyst Sylvain N’Guessan.

Crimping Gbagbo’s ambitions could be a bill designed to limit the age of presidential candidates to 75. He will turn 80 in 2025.

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