One of Republic of Korea's most celebrated professional footballers Mr. Lee Chun Soo has shown keen interest in working closely with UN-Habitat to promote a sports curriculum and to establish a sports academy to train youth in Kenya.
Last week he visited UN-Habitat and held meetings with the agency's staff. "I am willing to connect with many sports associations and individual football players though my network to promote these ideas. I would also like to attend the Seventh Session of the World Urban Forumto participate in youth assembly and sports," he said.
Mr. Lee who was capped for his country both in 2002 and 2006 World Cups currently plies his trade at Incheon United FC. In the 2006 tournament, he scored Korea's first goal with a free kick against Togo in a 2-1 win. He was named K-League's Most Valuable Player in December 2005.
Mr. Lee showed interest to partner with UN-Habitat to support sports as a tool for sustainable development through development of a comprehensive sports curriculum, establishment of a state-of-the-art sports academy, and continuous training of trainers on practical skills and behavioral change. As a key advocator for the youth, UN-Habitat considered nominating him as the Sports Ambassador for Peace and Development.
UN-HABITAT, other UN agencies and other global agencies have frequently used sports to engage with young people. Sports is not only a source of entertainment, it is also a vital educational instrument, teaching fair play, teamwork and promoting a sense of solidarity.The UN-HABITAT sports programme ultimate aim is to promote youth empowerment through sports by targeting urban vulnerable and underprivileged communities. Sport activities have been used as a tool for youth mobilization, social improvement and empowerment.
Recently, Incheon FC United sponsored a Soccer Tournament in Nairobi, Kenya that was organized by Global Peace Youth Corps, the office of the Kibra Member of Parliament in collaboration with UN Habitat Youth Unit and other partners. The Incheon FC Soccer Tournament was conducted between October and November, engaging 48 teams of children under 11 years and 14 years in Kibra Constituency focusing on promoting education and economic development through sports under the theme 'Incheon FC Dream Cup – Sports for Sustainable Peace and Economic Development'. The best teams were awarded with cheques for educational sponsorship, sports equipment and a chance to be part of a mentorship programme on skills and character education.
The final of the tournamentheld last Sunday was graced by Mr. Kenneth Okoth, Kibra Member of Parliament; Gordon Oluoch, Kenyan Commissioner of Sports and Sam Nyamweya, President of Football Kenya Federation.
Also present were Daniel Juma, Executive Director GlobalPeace Foundation- Kenya, Gor Semelang'o, Chairman, Youth Enterprise Development Fund andMr. Markandey Rai, Chief of Global Parliamentarians, UN-Habitat among others.