The city of Goma in DR Congo Saturday witnessed a vibrant spectacle as the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) orchestrated the inaugural CAF Africa Cup of Nations Football Festival for internally displaced persons at Lac Vert-Bulengo IDP site.
The event unfolded with young players from seven nearby displaced sites, bringing a day of joy and hope to those facing adversity.
CAF General Secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba, upon his arrival in DR Congo, expressed the festival’s profound mission as part of the CAN awareness initiative.
“We want to give hope to those who might otherwise feel hopeless,” CAF General Secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba said on his arrival to DR Congo, adding that the festival is part of the CAN awareness initiative.
Joining him was FECOFA President Dieudonne Sambi, underscoring the collaborative effort to make a positive impact on the lives of displaced youth.
The football festival aimed to serve as a vehicle for social inclusion, drawing international attention to the plight of children in camps. Its objectives extended to enhancing communication, advocating for peace, and providing life skills training for children.
CAF pledged a lasting legacy, investing in hard-ground football pitches, goal posts, and essential equipment in both Displaced and Refugee Camps.
The festivities kicked off with a Grassroot Football Festival for U12 Boys and Girls, followed by U15 Boys and Girls Tournaments and a Coaching Workshop.
In a commitment to sustainability, a drainage system was laid to ensure the field’s use by the local community for years to come.
Distinguished guests, including former DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge, international football figures Distel Zola and Tresor LuaLua, and local football luminaries, added prestige to the event.
Beyond the football pitch, UN agencies UNFPA and UNHCR, along with their partners, organized crucial workshops addressing sexual and gender-based violence—a pervasive issue in the surrounding camps.
As the echoes of joy and unity resonated in Goma, the impact of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Football Festival transcends borders, with a similar event slated for later in January at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
Football, in its purest form, became a beacon of hope, leaving an indelible mark on the communities it touched.
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