Global stars give back to the game

2015-04-15 13:32
Fabio Capello gives instructions during a Laureus Shanghai Football Campus Tour prior to the Laureus World Sports Awards 2015 at Datong Middle School on April 14, 2015 in Shanghai, China. (Photo: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images for Laureus)

Shanghai - A glittering array of football legends took the positive message of the beautiful game to the Chinese youth as part of the Laureus Shanghai Football Campus Tour on the eve of the Laureus World Sports Awards on Tuesday.

Fabio Capello, Ruud Gullit, Carles Puyol, Louis Saha and Sun Wen all took part in a football project at Datong Middle School, supported by the Shanghai Municipal Government and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

The global stars inspired 400 high school students from the Shanghai School Football League (SSFL) and held a special on-field clinic with 60 student footballers as part of the goal of encouraging Chinese teenagers to become more active and participate in football.

“Football has given all of us so much to be thankful for, and it’s an honour to give something back through Laureus and hopefully inspire the next generation,” said Laureus Ambassador and current Russian national team coach Capello.

The football stars are in Shanghai to honour the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of the year at the Laureus World Sports Awards at the Shanghai Grand Theatre on April 15.

Founded in January 2012, the Shanghai School Football League (SSFL) has a vision to enhance the development of football in Shanghai and grow the number of youth footballers. The SSFL is governed by the Shanghai Municipal Education Committee, led by the Shanghai Municipal Sports Bureau, and consists of various organisations, schools and government departments all committed to the development of football amongst the youth. The SSFL currently includes 17 universities, 29 high schools, 91 middle schools, 133 primary schools, and 280 organisations from 16 districts. Up to 10 000 footballers fall under the SSFL, and the organisation hosts 2 000 matches annually during its nine-month season.

As a group, the credentials of the football stars certainly inspired the students.

Laureus Ambassador Fabio Capello is one of the game’s great managers and is currently in charge of the Russian national team. He has managed AC Milan, Real Madrid, Roma, Juventus and England.

Fellow Laureus Ambassador Ruud Gullit personified the concept of ‘Total Football’ as one of the stalwarts of the Netherlands team that won the 1988 European Championship under his captaincy. He was twice a European Cup winner with AC Milan.

Carles Puyol spent his entire 15-year career as an outstanding defender and eventually club captain at FC Barcelona. He was also an important member of the Spanish national team that won the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

French international Louis Saha holds the record for the fastest goal ever scored in an FA Cup Final, after 25 seconds, for Everton. Among his other teams were Metz, Fulham and Manchester United.

And Sun Wen is one of the most inspiring players in the history of women’s football, playing 152 times for China. She was voted the FIFA Female Player of the Century in 2000.

Former Barcelona footballer Carles Puyol of Spain kicks a ball from the stage watched by (L-R) Laureus World Sports Academy member Alexey Nemov, Laureus Chairman Edwin Moses, Zhao Wen, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, Xiao Guiyu, Laureus World Sports Ambassador Fabio Capello, Laureus World Sports Academy member Daley Thompson and former footballer Louis Saha of France during a Laureus Shanghai Football Campus Tour prior to the Laureus World Sports Awards 2015 at Datong Middle School on April 14, 2015 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images for Laureus)

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