Ivorian soccer star, Toure Yaya Gnegnery, was officially named Ambassador-at-Large for "Sports for Life" on July 9, 2007 at a ceremony in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. U.S. Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire, Aubrey Hooks, attended the ceremony and thanked Toure for partnering with the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Emergency Plan/PEPFAR) to fight HIV/AIDS.
"Mr. Toure, you've gotten involved to "kick AIDS out of Africa," in your own words. Your mission is noble, and you will never lack our encouragement and our support," Ambassador Hooks said during the ceremony.
"Sports for Life" is a campaign that equips thousands of young soccer players with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS.
Responding to the challenge, the new "Sports for Life" Ambassador said: "I'm aware that we sportsmen are a role model for young people. I'm ready to devote my time telling them to do the right thing. I've volunteered to become an Ambassador in the 'Sports for Life' campaign in order to save lives in my country, and to help my younger brothers and sisters to grow up healthily."
The 24-year-old Toure, an international soccer star, recently signed on to play for FC Barcelona. Toure used to play for Cote d'Ivoire's Academie Mimosifcom before beginning signed at age 18 to the French team AS Monaco.
"AIDS is a disease we need to banish," Toure said. "With the help of football and 'Sports for Life,' we're going to kick AIDS out of Africa."
Since its launch in Cote d'Ivoire in December 2006, "Sports for Life" has reached more than 12,000 youth with HIV prevention messages through activities built around soccer. Begun in Abidjan, the program will expand to Abengourou, Bouake, San Pedro and Yamoussoukro in 2008.
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