Surya Varikuti and Rudresh Gaudnour, 12 year old football enthusiasts, have been selected as India’s representatives at the global Football For Friendship (F4F) social programme. The F4F programme, supported by Gazprom and FIFA aims at developing youth football and a healthy lifestyle, as well as promoting tolerance, open-mindedness and respect for different cultures and nationalities between children from across the globe. This year, the F4F programme has expanded to 211 countries and regions. This is the second time that India will participate in the programme.
Surya will join Young footballers from around the world in Moscow in June 2018. The children will be a part of the 32 International Teams of Friendship and play against each other in the Gazprom Football For Friendship International Championship. The friendly tournament aims to bring together children from around the world and celebrate the unifying spirit of football.
Rudresh will act as the young journalist and report on all the local and global activities of the F4F programme as part of the International Children's Press Center. He will also spread awareness on the Nine Values (friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions and honour) of the F4F programme.
Surya and Rudresh will also participate in the Football for Friendship International Children's Forum in Russia, where the youngsters will get a chance to meet their peers from other countries, share their experiences, and discuss with famous footballers and journalists on how to promote key values of the F4F programme around the world
The selection of the young footballer was conducted by All India Football Federation (AIFF) by selecting the best defender, fitting the criteria, from a team that conceded the least number of goals. Surya, who has participated in various football tournaments across the country such as the National U13 Youth League, believes it is important to promote friendship, equality and peace to brighten our world.
Speaking on the selection of the young footballer Mr. Kishore Taid, COO, All India Football Federation, said, “The selection of the young footballer is an extension of our support to this unique global initiative. The programme is a wonderful opportunity for kids to build ties of friendship among children from around the world and foster peace and harmony through the beautiful game of football. We wish our young footballer all the best for the programme and look forward to his contribution in promoting the key values of the programme, in Russia, as well as in India.”
The young journalist, Rudresh was shortlisted as the F4F Young Journalist from India in association with Just For Kicks (JFK), a school intervention programme working towards developing life skills amongst children belonging to lower income families by incorporating football training in their school curriculum.
Speaking on the selection of Rudresh as the young journalist Ms. Neha Sahu, Co-Founder, Just For Kicks and Director - Operations, Enabling Leadership said, "We are thrilled to have one of our kids selected to represent India at F4F for the second year in a row. This time it’s even more significant and special for Just For Kicks since our budding 12-year-old footballer, Rudresh is going as a Young journalist to Russia! He has been a part of the JFK program for over three years now and is a wonderful representative of all the life skills we look to develop in our children. We can’t wait for our Young Journalist, Rudresh to embark on his first international trip from a municipal school in Pune directly to the World Cup in Russia!"
The sixth season of the F4F programme will conclude with a visit by the participating children to the opening ceremony and the first match of the FIFA World Cup 2018