By Naomi MacMurdie
The Zangon Kataf Peace and Reconciliation Committee, initiated by Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized what has been named a “peace and unity football match.” Designed to strengthen the bond of unity among the people of different ethno-religious groups within the local government, teams gathered at the Atyap Palace football pitch on June 13, 2022.
The participants attested to the fact that since the rise of insecurity in the community, there has not been such a communal event for three years. One football player, Shadrack Sunday, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to bring people together once again saying that without intervention from GPF Nigeria, the event would not have been possible.
Yusuf Salisu, another footballer involved in the peace and unity match agreed saying, “I really appreciate the organizers for how this match strengthened the bond of unity amongst our people who are from different ethnoreligious groups.” He was impressed and appreciative to see the sportsmanship between the opposing teams and said he was excited to participate in future sports events to promote peace.
Ahmadu Shettima was the evaluation officer representing GPF Nigeria who gave welcoming remarks at the peace and unity football match, encouraging players to create an environment of friendly competition that can be used to inspire their communities to bridge the divides in their country.
Football coach Salisu Sadi, who also serves as the chairman of the football planning committee, thanked the players and the efforts of the Zangon Kataf Peace and Reconciliation Committee and GPF Nigeria for organizing the event saying that it would “be forever in the memories of Zangon Kataf people.” He revealed the planning committee’s intentions to put together a team that will represent Zagon Kataf LGA as a “starting point” to building ongoing peace and unity football matches in the future.
Learn more about our peacebuilding programs in Nigeria.